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


Medill student film from Bolivia published on

MathiasHomePageI’m thrilled to say that a video produced, reported, filmed, written and edited by graduate student Mathias Meier has been published by the New York Times. Mathias was awarded a travel grant from the Medill School to travel to Bolivia to report on the legalization of child labor there. He traveled to La Paz for a week and created a first draft of the story with me in an advanced video journalism class in our graduate program.  I was so impressed by the work that I sent the piece to Rich Tanner, a senior producer at the New York Times. I edited a shorter draft Mathias worked on based on his longer piece (which was also nominated for a college award in the Chicago/Midwest Emmys) and then he and Rich continued to fine tune the story over the summer. After a few delays in publication because of breaking news, the story finally ran on Saturday, December 19th, and led the NYTimes home page (a major feat). Mathias has since graduated from our program and is back in his native Chile, working in media and freelancing. Congratulations Mathias.



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.


Field Report: New Orleans

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,  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.



Why Video Journalism is Vital

It’s been an awful week in Syria, and a deadly one for reporters witnessing and covering the violence there.

On Tuesday, Marie Colvin, an American reporter working for The Sunday Times of London, told the BBC the violence happening in the Syrian city of Homs was “absolutely sickening.” Colvin compared the siege of the city to that of Srebrenica, the massacre in the Balkan wars the veteran reporter also covered. Hours after she spoke to the BBC Ms. Colvin was killed, along with French photographer Rémi Ochlik, when the makeshift media center they worked in was shelled by government forces.

With the government of President Bashar al-Assad denying most news agencies admittance to the country, many reporters have entered secretly (as New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid did and, tragically, suffered a fatal asthma attack as he made his way out). The dangers and obstacles have kept many away, and for those who are in the war zone, broadcasting and filing have been tremendously difficult.

That has made the work of bloggers and citizen journalists living and reporting inside the country much more prominent. As these reporters post their images and video on YouTube or stream events live on sites like Bambuser, major news organizations have turned to them for coverage. This has been true throughout the past year as clashes and protests have marked the Arab Spring. Some of the most indelible images and stories from the uprisings—from reports by computer-engineer-turned-journalist Mohammed ‘Mo’ Nabbous in Libya to the vicious treatment by police of the “girl in the blue bra” in Egypt—have been captured by amateur videographers and citizen reporters.

Their work is equally, if not more, perilous as that of their professional brethren (they cannot easily flee when their personal safety is at stake). Mr. Nabbous was killed in fighting in Libya just over a month after the conflict there began. And, as Robert Mackey reported on the New York Times’ Lede blog this week, Syrian blogger Rami al-Sayed whose live streams and images from Homs were widely seen on international broadcasts, was killed on Tuesday along with three friends in the attacks on the Baba Amr neighborhood. Continue reading “Why Video Journalism is Vital”