Archive for the 'Documentary' Category

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Forging Family Against the Odds

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Rebecca and her husband, Randal, always knew they wanted to be a foster family, even with three birth children of their own. Two weeks after becoming certified as foster parents in November 2005, they had two children placed in their home. They decided to adopt the children and have since, adopted a third child. “All three of our adopted children are from horrible home lives, addiction, abuse, and everything that you could probably imagine, they’ve had in their little lives,” Rebecca said. Though they cannot foster or adopt any more children because of state laws, but hope to encourage others to adopt and provide children in need with a forever family.

Video by Jessey Dearing

UNC Journalism Students Launch “Living Galapagos”

We’re pleased to announce the release of “Living Galapagos,” a collection of student-produced multimedia stories about life in the Galapagos Islands.

For all of the attention that Charles Darwin brought to the Galápagos Islands, most people know surprisingly little about them. Since Darwin’s writings 200 years ago, the people of Galápagos – both residents and tourists – have fundamentally changed the natural habitat of the formerly pristine archipelago.

The site’s debut follows a month-long foreign reporting assignment in which 21 journalism students, one faculty member, and four professional journalists traveled to this unique ecosystem in summer 2009 to explore the impact that humans have had on the formerly pristine archipelago. They witnessed conservation, natural beauty and a welcoming culture. They also saw a host of environmental and cultural issues that leave the Galápagos Islands at a tipping point.

The students, guided by the faculty and professionals, used photos, audio, video, 360º panoramic photos, information graphics and design to examine the various environmental and cultural issues that have arisen in the Galapagos. The stories include themes ranging from invasive species and illegal fishing to surfing and the tourism industry. The stories of the people and their islands make up Living Galápagos, a documentary multimedia project that examines the battle for balance between man and nature.

We welcome you to view these stories and more at

There will be a screening of the work on Wednesday, October 14 at 5:30pm at the UNC-Chapel Hill FedEx Global Education Center. Hope to see everyone there.

Looking Back: Special Olympics Live from Boise, Idaho

The Special Olympics World Winter Games marked the largest international sporting and humanitarian event of the year, with more than 2,000 athletes from almost 100 countries. But, unlike other sporting events of this magnitude, you cannot tune in from home. Major media outlets, especially overseas, just don’t have the budgets to cover the World Games. It’s a shame because the drama, passion and competitive spirit on display at the Special Olympics are unrivaled.

In 2007, former UNC professor and current Knight Chair in Visual Journalism at the University of Miami Rich Beckman spearheaded the one of the largest multimedia projects of any kind with his coverage of the 2007 World Games in China. For the 2009 site, Beckman led a wonderful team of student journalists from UNC and Miami. Coaches include New York Times’ Nancy Donaldson, Open Society Institutes’ Pam Chen, multimedia guru Mike Schmidt, Jim Virga from the University of Miami and our own Pat Davison.

This year’s site was equally ambitious, including several daily features such as documentaries (mind-boggling but yes somehow 6-7 documentaries were produced every day), a 10-minute webcast narrated by public radio veteran Nick Vidinsky, photos of the day and video highlights from each event. Perhaps most impressive and most important to the mission of the project, every single athlete has a homepage with photos and video from their time at the Games.

Please check out Special Olympics Live, if for no other reason than to get to know a little bit more about some really fantastic athletes. Learn more about the Special Olympics and ways to involved with the Games at

Two UNC Students Vie for YouTube Pulitzer: Vote Now

A partnership with the Pulitzer Center, YouTube’s Project: Report is a journalism contest intended for non-professional, aspiring journalists to tell stories that might not otherwise be told. We’re proud to report that two of the five finalists are UNC grad students: Eileen Mignoni and Sara Peach. For the third and final round finalists were asked to create a piece on an disenfranchised population that allows them to tell their own story. Video was collected from both the journalist and from the subject, making this a truly collaborative piece.

Eileen’s piece, posted below, is entitled “From Burma’s Mountains to Carolina’s Piedmont.” It’s the story of Karen refugees who have fled persecution in their homeland for a new life in the United States.  As Eileen reports, in 2007, 118 refugees were resettled last year in North Carolina’s Orange County by Lutheran Family Services. Sadly, as these families are able to have a new start, the numbers in the camps remain stable, due to restrictions on the number of refugees allowed to enter the U.S. The flow from Myanmar is constant. View High Quality video.

Sara’s story is entitled “Land of Our Own.” As she reports, “the Hmong people of Southeast Asia faced persecution after they aided U.S. troops during the Vietnam War. Thousands of Hmong refugees eventually resettled in the United States. Today, they and their children carry on traditions – such as this New Year celebration in Newton, N.C. – while adapting to American culture.” View in HD.

Voting is open until January 9th; viewers are allowed to vote once a day.  Visit the Project Report Web site to vote. The winner will receive $10,000 and an opportunity to work with the Pulitzer Center. Congratulations and best of luck to both Sara and Eileen.

Preview: Cape Fear to Down Here, CPJW’08 at Ocean Isle Beach

This year’s Carolina Photojournalism Workshop site isn’t quite cooked all the way but it’s really, really close. Click here to view a map with story previews from this year’s site. In producing this year’s mix of stories, we kept a slightly tighter radius than last year’s Smoky Mountain Stories. But, as you can see from the map, we had students working on assignments as far north as Wilmington and we even encroached into South Carolina for the first time in workshop history. Enjoy the previews and expect an official release very shortly.

Google Maps API by Chris Carmichael
Inspired by Kelly Marks excellent Franklin Street Stories