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“Overtown Inside Out”- Here We Go!

This week “Overtown Inside Out” shifted in to high gear. I designed the sixteen-week multimedia project not only to document contemporary life in Overtown, but also to test the viability of a completely new method for disseminating hyperlocal journalism to communities with limited Internet access. On Friday funding came though for the multimedia kiosks that will deliver to the people of Overtown the films I make about the people of Overtown.

Overtown is one of Miami’s poorest neighborhoods. The project is built upon a foundational series of three short films, each one to four minutes long, that I shot in there in late 2009 and early 2010. These introductory films – “This is Overtown” (2009), The Eye of Overtown (2009), and Bullets Don’t Have Eyes” (2010) – are the first three chapters of what will be a twelve to sixteen chapter documentary about life in Overtown, told from the perspective of the people who live there.

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Miami-Dade Metrorail Update

A number of folks have requested updates to the July 1, 2010, post concerning my lifetime banishment from the Miami-Dade Metrorail.

I’m pleased to report that since I returned to Miami in early September I have been riding said metro unmolested. I have even made a few photographs while riding the metro, though not nearly as many as my friend Carlos Miller, who organized not one but two groups of camera toting defenders of the First Amendment to descend upon Miami’s Douglas Road station wielding enough cameras to make Kim Kardashian blush.

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Sinking Sensation Stirs Students to Swim

For their third assignment, my University of Miami Fall 2010 Introduction to Photojournalism students covered the 2010 Sunshine State Dancesport Competition at the Fontainebleu Hotel in Miami Beach on October 8-9. They immersed themselves in the assignment, took some calculated risks and knocked it right out of the park. Bravo!

I am passionate about visual journalism, and a passionate advocate for young visual journalists. So I spend a fair amount of time thinking about strategies I can use as an instructor that will allow my students to become better visual storytellers.

At the University of Miami, students in my CVJ-221T class, Introduction to PhotoJournalism, have confirmed that like their peers, they are voracious consumers of visual information. But the jejune visual idioms of the prevailing popular culture are ineffectual as tools of journalism. Our goal as journalists, in the words of legendary photojournalism educator Cliff Edom, is to “show truth with a camera.

My thoughts on this topic continue to evolve, but I’m pretty sure that the challenge of training young people as visual journalists breaks down something like this:

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