‘Even as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I have a red line.’

David Todd is the Chief of Police in Fargo, North Dakota and one of his biggest fears is losing one of his officers. That happened in 2016, when Officer Jason Moszer answered a call about a domestic violence dispute.

More officers are killed on domestic dispute calls than any other service call. Chief Todd says closing loopholes that allow domestic abusers to possess guns will save lives. “Individuals with violent records like domestic violence should never be allowed to own a gun,” he said. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure to meet Chief Todd and video tape this Op-Ed for the New York Times, working with the amazing producer Matteen Mokalla.


Faculty awards support creation of innovative curriculum


Awards fund unique enhancements to undergraduate courses in two fields

December 14, 2017 | By Kayla Stoner
Craig Duff and Rick Gaber

Professors Richard Gaber and Craig Duff, 2018 recipients of The Alumnae of Northwestern University’s Award for Curriculum Development, will spend the summer developing enhancements for courses in biological sciences and in journalism.

The awards, administered by the Office of the Provost, provide $12,500 to each professor to support the development of innovative course materials and new modes of teaching.

Gaber will use the funds to travel the U.S. gathering fungus specimens for students’ use in laboratory classes. Duff will visit several news media outlets to observe and subsequently teach students about the state-of-the-art multimedia production methods being used by top tier media today.

With a focus on active learning, critical thinking and the development of relevant skills, each professor’s projects will prepare students for greater success within and outside of their disciplines. Each project embodies the innovation that is paramount for recipients of The Alumnae Award for Curriculum Development, helping to grow and strengthen the undergraduate curriculum at Northwestern in creative ways.
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Making Social Media Videos in Pakistan

Earlier this month, I spent a week in Karachi, working with a smart and energetic group of journalists and producers—and a few marketers and administrators—at news organizations in Pakistan. Together with my co-trainer Hassaan Khan and the 26 participants, we produced a dozen or so short video stories, crafted with graphics and subtitles, to be published on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

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How the smart grid is changing the job market in Illinois

As clean energy job growth outpaces conventional energy sectors like coal in Illinois, new opportunities are being created in both rural and urban areas of the state.

This video explores how evolving grid technology, as well as new and existing state policies, have contributed to clean energy job growth in Illinois.

Published by Midwest Energy News on August 18, 2017.

Production was supported by a grant from the Illinois Science and Energy Innovation Foundation

We asked Londoners: Should President Trump visit the UK?

This past week, I was in London with five graduate students and five working reporters from Pakistan, as part of a project between the Medill School and the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi. While there, we were asked to do an assignment with AJ+ to poll people on the streets of the UK capital to ask if President Trump should visit the city. This is after the Guardian reported that he told Prime Minister Theresa May he wouldn’t want to come if there would be “wide scale protests.”

Four of my students and one of the Pakistani reporters helped me find people to talk to, and the interviewees had some surprisingly thoughtful responses. The video (edited in San Francisco from the interviews and footage we submitted) ran this week.

Helping local NGOs get their message out

Looking back on the work done by students in my classes this past year, I am reflecting on the incredible stories told by teams of students in a new course I developed called The Art and Craft of Persuasive Video Storytelling. For that, I reached out to local NGOs doing good work in the city—ranging from school counseling and art therapy to protecting the water of the Chicago River and finding ways for young people from poorer neighborhoods to experience rowing on it—and asked if they would like a short video to promote their work. Below are the video pieces the students accomplished in the fall quarter.

Chicago Training Center – Four students went out to meet young people rowing on the Chicago River as part of this training center, which aims to build community and opportunity through the sport. Produced by Jessica Hoffman, Katie Karalis, Michael Oppenheim and Caleigh Ryan.

Institute for Therapy Through the Arts: To show the impact that art, music and performance therapy can have, students Kayla Famurewa, Madeleine Kenyon, Evelyn Ma and Carol Schivartche introduced us to Nick, who is doing music therapy at the organization’s Evanston office.

Communities in Schools of Chicago: Meet Nicki Keen, student supports manager at Westcott elementary school. Produced by Shannon Clark, Juju Miao and Ashley Peterson.

Friends of the Chicago River: To inform the public about Overflow Action Week—a campaign by the Friends of the Chicago River warning of the toxic effects of sewage flowing into the city’s storm drain system—students told the story of a group of cancer survivors who row on the river and advocate for making it cleaner. Produced by Sherry Chiu, Amanda Hermans and Danielle Levy.


Helping Pakistan’s abused and injured street donkeys

This weekend, AJE Video ran a short social media version of a story I shot and produced in Pakistan late last year. It’s about the donkey camps that were started by the Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation, an animal rescue NGO in Karachi. Each week, vets and staff from ACF go to remote villages outside of the city to treat sick and injured donkeys. In doing so, they also help their owners make a better living, by learning how to better treat the beasts of burden, to keep them alive and healthy longer.

My thanks to Yasir Khan and his team at AJE Video for putting together this version. A longer, documentary version will be released soon. My thanks also to Wasif Shakil, who accompanied me on the shoot and translated for me on the ground.

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Who Loses When the Oreo Jobs Move to Mexico?

oreothing_webDonald J. Trump says he’s never eating Oreos again. Ever. He has been saying this for months on the campaign trail after Mondelez International — the new name for the parent company of Nabisco — announced it was moving  600 jobs from Chicago to Mexico, to make the iconic Oreo cookie in a new state-of-the-art facility there. Hillary Clinton met with officials for one of the unions representing workers at the Nabisco plant in Chicago, and said she would force companies to give back tax breaks if they moved jobs off shore.

Offshoring is nothing new, but the recent layoffs have meant hundreds of Chicagoans lost a good-paying job, and for many the prospects of finding a new job with the same wages are slim. Stephen Franklin and I met three union members who have been out of work since earlier this year, and struggle to find a new job.  We told their story in this short documentary for NBCNews.com.

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A first experiment in 360 video: The Living Theatre

Earlier today, members of The Living Theatre — America’s oldest experimental theater company — joined me at the beach in Chicago to do a little bit of experimentation in a newish form of communication: 360 video. We did a few short vignettes from pieces they are performing on their national tour (they’re three days in to a long journey called the “Know Your Rites” tour, that will take them all the way out west, then down south as they work their way back east to their home base of New York). This piece is “the class song.” I learned a lot in this first attempt (one of the lessons being: disguise the monopod head better), and I’m excited for the form and very grateful that this troupe was ever-eager to try something new. Have a look — and be sure to pan left and right with your mouse clicks to get the full effect.

Medill student reporting in Paris appears in The Washington Post

Paris_01In June, I joined Medill colleagues Peter Slevin and Kate Lee to support ten undergraduate students who reported on the refugee crisis in Europe, focusing on France. They reported for a week in Paris and in Calais, where they saw the camp populated by migrants hoping to cross the English Channel to the UK. While in Paris, we spoke with several Millennial Parisians, who discussed topics ranging from unemployment to the migrant issue to terrorism. The final result of those interviews was published this week in the Washington Post. It features a text story by three students, and three videos produced by all ten of the young reporters in the class.

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