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A New Chapter

The Future of Journalism

In August 2011 I joined the faculty of the University of Illinois College of Media as an Assistant Professor of Journalism. Soon thereafter, I was asked by the other faculty members to draft a profile of what a student graduating with a Journalism degree would “look like.” What skills would she have? What experiences? How would she fit into the new media landscape? Here’s what I came up with –

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Overtown Inside Out: The Screensaver

This is just a quick post to share the screensaver that will grace the four multimedia kiosks that we should begin to set up in Overtown this week.

The brains within the kiosks are four PowerPC Mac Minis I got for about $175 each off eBay. These machines each have a gig of RAM, a hard drive of between 40 and 80 gigs, and not much else. In fact, I’ve uninstalled every piece of code I could remove from them and still allow them to play and record videos.

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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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Innovation in Journalism: Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way

I recently applied for a multimedia journalism teaching position at the University of Nevada-Reno’s Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism. The search committee asked applicants to write 300 words on the topic, “What Innovation in Journalism Means to You.”

This is my submission, edited only slightly because here I’m not trying to make it exactly 300 words:

To me, innovation in journalism means creating a multimedia experience as engaging as Angry Birds, but much more informative.

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Intended Intimacy, Unintended Consequences – Part 1

In one of my Master’s in Multimedia Journalism graduate classes at the University of Miami’s School of Communication, we have recently been discussing the relationship between a documentary photographer and his/her subjects – Is the proper, ethical relationship strictly professional, or can an ethical photographer/subject relationship include or evolve into something that is a more nebulous amalgamation of the professional and the personal – a friendship based on a professional relationship – as a result of the necessarily intimate and confessional nature of the interaction?

In no way do I claim any greater insight on this long standing and complex discussion than the next guy or gal with a camera strung around his/her neck, but having worked as a professional photographer for 25 years and during that time photographed “people in their environments” literally throughout “North America and the entire world,” (that’s 50 countries and 38 states thus far) I have the experience of countless photographer/subject relationships to draw upon as I consider the issue.

One of these relationships came to mind during class last week, and I would like to share it here, along with two edits of the one-minute film that was born of that relationship.

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The Evolution of a 30 Second Advertising Spot. Plus: “Name That Project” Answered!

Again using Canon’s 5D Mark ii and the Zoom H4n audio recorder, I shot and produced the video above for Rich Beckman’s Multimedia Storytelling graduate seminar at the University of Miami School of Communication. The assignment was to create a 30 second public service announcement promoting Special Olympics. I decided to produce a spot for Special Olympics’ “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, an effort designed to encourage people to stop using the words “retarded” or “retard” to describe individuals with intellectual disabilities.

My concept was to show a series of video clips of things that begin with the letter “R,” and to end with a clip of a Special Olympian followed by the words “Role Model.” I decided to test the concept’s potential by blogging stills and video clips as the shoot progressed, and asking people to “Name That Project.”

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Name That Project! (The First of Many…)

UPDATE: SUNDAY MORNING, 11:24am EDT: NEW VIDEO CLUES POSTED BELOW.

Please forgive the impromptu nature of this post, but I’m up to my ears in alligators with various deadlines before the end of my second semester in the University of Miami’s Multimedia Journalism master’s program.

This is the first in a series of little contests I’m going to do wherein I will post raw imagery from a project as I shoot it. These are not tight edits, but rather simply screenshots that represent content. From the stills above, and the video clips below, a savvy observer will find clues in the images that will hint at the project’s concept.

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Getting Great Sound and Stability with the Canon 5d Mark II in the Documentary Mode

(Photographs above by Paula Echevarria: pechez@gmail.com)

If you are a still photographer, you’re probably moving toward incorporating motion into your arsenal of marketable skills.  If you’re a videographer, you’re probably exploring the myriad possibilities opened up to you by the new 35mm DSLR video-capable cameras from Canon and Nikon.

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