Monthly Archive for February, 2009

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

PhotoNight XLIX with Kristen Ashburn

Please join us for PhotoNight XLIX with Kristen Ashburn. Ashburn is a documentary photographer who has received numerous honors including a nomination for the 28th Annual Emmy Awards (2007), NPPA- Best of Photojournalism (2007, 2006, 2003), the John Faber Award- Overseas Press Club of America (2006) and two World Press Photo prizes (2005, 2003). The Getty Grant 2006, and Canon’s Female Photojournalist Award in 2004.

Ashburn began to photograph the impact of AIDS in southern Africa in 2001. Her work has also taken her to Iraq a year following the US-led invasion, and Russia to cover the spread of MDR-tuberculosis in the penal system. Her work has appeared in many publications including Time, Newsweek, US News & World Report, Life and others.

In addition to a book signing, Ashburn will give a multimedia presentation from the film “I Am Because We Are,” which explores the lives of children who have been orphaned by AIDS.

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Film Credit: Nathan Rissman

Author proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the charitable organization Raising Malawi-founded by Madonna and Michael Berg-for their extensive work with orphans throughout Malawi.

  • When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday February 24, 2009 (Doors open at 7:00 p.m.)
  • Where: Nelson Mandela Auditorium of the FedEx Global Education Center