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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Launch of the Center for Excellence in Journalism at IBA in Karachi

I am in Karachi for the official launch of the Center for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute for Business Administration. The Medill School, where I teach, is a partner in the State Department-funded initiative along with the International Center for Journalists. I am the leader for Medill’s efforts (which include our faculty coming here to teach several times a year), and this was my fifth time in Pakistan. The event began with an opening ceremony with “chief guest” the US Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, and the Dean of IBA, Dr. Ishrat Husain. Then we went up to the Center itself for the official ribbon cutting. The Center has been under construction for over a year, and it has a full TV studio, newsroom/classroom space, edit rooms and a radio studio. Hats off to Christie Lauder and the staff at the CEJ for hosting such a great and memorable event. And to all the partners in the project who have worked so hard to get to this point. The press release for the event is below the photos.

AMERICAN AMBASSADOR, IBA DIRECTOR INAUGURATE CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM

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Medill Students Dominate Chicago/Midwest College Emmy Nominations

322Example6Medill School of Journalism students were well represented in the college categories of the Midwest/Chicago Emmy awards, and some of the nominees produced their work in my classes.

In the General Assignment Reporting category, Brandon Wilson won a nomination for ‘Graduation Day,’ a piece he reported in the video journalism class I teach. The story is about a high school senior and former soccer star who suffered a debilitating stroke. And Jesse Kirsch – who is in my video journalism class this quarter – is also nominated for a story he did for Northwestern News Network (NNN).

322example2NNN is an extracurricular news program produced by Medill School undergraduates. Their Election Show (which was a Bronze national Emmy earlier this year) was nominated in the Best Newscast Category along with their “Chicago Show” in in May.

In the Student Sports production category, Adam Mintzer got a nod for his story about NU crew. Reporting that piece meant he had to get up before dawn several days last spring quarter when he made the story in my spring video storytelling class.

In the long form category, two Medill-produced documentaries produced in my colleague Brent Huffman’s class and one longer-form story reported in Bolivia by Mathias Meier were among the five nominees. Mathias’ story – which he produced in the graduate-level advanced video journalism course – focused on child labor in Bolivia, which the country legalized last year. That story is set to publish on a major news site soon.

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Talking “Convergence” in China

On July 18th, I gave a lecture at Jinan University for the school’s media leadership conference. They asked me to speak about “convergence journalism,” a subject I know a lot about, even though I’m not a big fan of the word “convergence.” I emphasized that in the digital world we live in, many ways of storytelling have converged, and any news organization can work in practically any medium — text, photos, audio, video and interactive — with relative ease. So, essentially, all journalism is convergence journalism. Instead of dwelling on converging media, I urged the audience to be smart about finding the right medium for the story, rather than trying to shoe-horn a story into any individual storytelling method.

Photo by Zach Wise
Photo by Zach Wise

To make this point, I use a poem by Dylan Thomas, which has been used and adapted across various platforms. By reading it, listening to it being read, and seeing people (including the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield) perform it, we see the strength of each of the mediums and can then think about how that translates to news stories.

One of my favorite quotes of Dylan Thomas — who was known for this lilting baritone and the flourish of his reading aloud from his own work and that of others — is this:

“The printed page is the place in which to examine the works of a poem, and the platform the place on which to give the poem the works.”

In modern news reporting, we have so many platforms on which to give the story the works.

I was joined at Jinan by my Medill colleagues Scott Anderson, Michael Deas and Zach Wise, who made this collage of photos of attendees who came to speak to me after my talk.

 

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Photos by Zach Wise

Field Report: New Orleans

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From the levee in the Holy Cross neighborhood of New Orleans, you get a great view of downtown across the Mississippi River. With photographer Roger Herr.

This past week, I continued work on a series of pieces I’m doing in New Orleans for the74million.org,  a news portal focused on education that will launch this Monday. (The 74 million refers to the number of children under the age of 18 in the USA.) Since so much of what I’ve been doing the past several years has been solo video journalism, it has been a while since I’ve had the luxury to work in the field with a correspondent, a photographer and a sound person.

Campbell Brown talks to Jamal Preston, a recent graduate of the Dr. King Charter School in New Orleans.
Campbell Brown talks to Jamal Preston, a recent graduate of the Dr. King Charter School in New Orleans.

I had the pleasure to work with former NBC and CNN reporter/anchor Campbell Brown, photographer Roger Herr, a former CNN colleague and Darryl Mitchell on sound. The last time Roger, Darryl and I worked together we got to stand on top of the head of George Washington on Mount Rushmore for a Discovery Channel show on Homeland Security.

I’ll tell you more about the New Orleans stories when they run in August.

Campbell Brown (third from left) with Jamar McKneely (far left), the CEO of InspireNOLA charter schools, and parents of children at the Andrew Wilson school in Broadmoor.
Campbell Brown (third from left) with Jamar McKneely (far left), the CEO of InspireNOLA charter schools, and parents of children at the Andrew Wilson school in Broadmoor.

 

 

Meet the Hardworking Veterans Offering a Safe Passage to Chicago Youth

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This past year, I had the pleasure to spend time with veterans involved in a program to help students get to school safely. Leave No Veteran Behind is a non-profit that hires recent and long-time US veterans in various programs.  I had arranged to spend time with Aleia and Cedrik, two supervisors with LNVB who led patrols for a program called Safe Passage, an initiative where adults command the sidewalks on the routes to and between neighborhoods and schools. But it seemed each time we arranged to shoot was a day when there were few to no students. The first day I arranged to spend with them turned out to be a big testing day and only a handful of Juniors were at the high schools. We tried again close to the end of the school year, but the principal let the students out early.

But I did manage to get enough footage so that we could cut together a story worthy of the group and what it does for veterans and the communities they serve. My thanks to Jacob Templin at NationSwell, editor Thomas Shomaker and editing assistant Martine Granby. Have a look: