Archive for the ‘journalism’ Category

Scott Heidler 
Al Jazeera - English 
Correspondent

Scott Heidler
Al Jazeera – English
Correspondent

Recently, I posed this question on my Facebook page: “What defines a journalist? Can you sum it up in one word? The first few responses were what you would expect. “Unbiased, inquisitive, independent. A former colleague at KIRO TV (CBS Seattle) told me, “inquisitor.” Then the blood started flowing from the vein I’d opened up. “Interrupted dinner”, wrote another KIRO TV alum. “Curious, (crime) scene tape.” Then more insight, “Turning off the phone isn’t an option.” “Accessible”, didn’t begin to cover it.

By this time my one word request had been blown to shreds. There’s no way to define a journalist in just one word. But they kept coming.

“Partisan”, wrote an old radio colleague from WIBA FM in Madison, Wisconsin. He went on to elaborate that unfortunately, “people consume news to be affirmed more than informed.” “Honest, empathetic, compassionate, large bladder, inquisitive, witness, truth”, were the next few responses. And then this nugget of wisdom from a former KCPQ (Fox Seattle) colleague, “Anyone can be a ‘storyteller.’ “Pursuer of truth” touched off a debate. Then another former news colleague stressed that a story can be told based on “the smallest of details.”

A former colleague at KXLY (ABC TV Spokane) brought the debate back to that one word definition again. “Accurate”, he wrote. “Credible”, wrote another. “Curiosity”, wrote another. Then another entry about how a journalist could be a an author, a documentarian and a common reporter as long as there was an “effort to create a history record.” “Persistent”, wrote another. Another followed, “NEWS – north, east, west and south”, written by one of the most passionate weather casters in the nation, a gifted storyteller in his own right. “Open minded”, wrote another. “Truth seeker”, wrote an award-winning former KIRO TV colleague. And finally, “interpreter”, wrote an architect friend.

A journalist can be all of those things, don’t you agree? And as screenwriter Aaron Sorkin once said through fictional White House reporter Will Sawyer on The West Wing, “There’s never been a time when it’s more important to be good at what I do.”

Regardless your beat, your deadline, your topic or your purpose, journalism remains literature “in a hurry” as it remains an open, honest window to a fast-changing world. What would I tell journalism wanna-be’s? Simple: Attribute your sources and keep your eyes open. Look for surprises in the smallest of details because theres a big world of stories to tell. Let’s pray enough journalists remain … to tell them.

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Since last Friday, more than 1,900 of you have watched The Marah Project video. If everyone who’s watched would give just $2.00 (that’s it … 2 bucks) we’d have enough for two full internships with Teens for Public Service. Since this summer when the internship program was set up, more than $22,000 has been raised for The Marah Project.

As many of you know in June, Seattle TV personality Penny LeGate’s daughter, Marah Williams, lost a long battle with drug addiction and depression. From loss comes new outreach and this short documentary aimed at raising awareness and funds for an internship in Marah’s name. Take a few minutes and watch this video I produced with Penny and Mike Williams’s gracious help. They were remarkably open and willing to share in the hopes that something good might one day come from Marah’s passing. Perhaps it will. Perhaps you’ll contribute. We hope so.

http://www.teensinpublicservice.org/get-involved/the-marah-project/

On Monday, watch KING 5’s Evening Magazine for their feature about The Marah Project. Penny LeGate co-hosted the show with Brian Tracy for nine years in the 90’s. “Evening Magazine” airs at 7:00pm Monday on KING 5 (NBC in Seattle). Don’t miss it.

http://www.king5.com/on-tv/evening-magazine

Mindy Mizell – World Vision
on reliable transportation

“The impact of Sandy will be felt for months if not years to come.” Yet  New York’s Mindy Mizell knows that this will be a big story in the media for only a matter of weeks, at best.  She says “We need to remember that there are going to be people who still need our help whether we still see this on the news or not.”

In other words – while the compassion “window” will only be open so long – the needs of those hard-hit by Sandy will remain.

And as the media coverage for Sandy’s aftermath begins to fade, a few images linger for Mizell.

“The streets were packed with cars and taxis. People had to stay above ground with the subways still closed,” Mizell says, “The only reliable way I had to get to work was my Piaggo, scooter.” Mizell lives in New York with her husband, Travis Galey, who works for CBS News.  Mindy is World Vision U.S. Media Relations Director. Mizell says, “God has a way of putting me in the right place at the wrong time.”

When she says the “wrong time” she means when she’s assigned to a natural disaster.

Mizell has been Media Relations Director at World Vision since 2010. Her news career has taken her from Roswell, New Mexico to Baltimore to Washington, D.C. to Oklahoma City. Since she joined World Vision and “re-purposed” her journalism, Mindy Mizell has traveled all over the world hoping to draw reporters’ attention to issues like hunger, malnutrition, extreme poverty and natural disasters. But last Monday morning she was at home in Manhattan when the natural disaster came to her.

Damaged Relief Supplies
World Vision South Bronx Storehouse

Relief supplies in the South Bronx Storehouse were damaged by Sandy before staff ever got to deliver them. Flood waters from the nearby East River destroyed dozens of boxes of relief supplies.

Mizell cleaning minor damage
Manhattan – Upper West side

Mizell admits she was lucky. While at this writing, thousands are still without power, she says the lights at her home only flickered a few times. Damage to their apartment was confined to blown down branches.

She and Travis live on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, the upper left side of this now-famous picture in the current issue of New York.

ny mag

But Mizell hasn’t been home much to notice. In the last two weeks Mindy has done dozens of interviews for local, national and international media, working 12-14 hour days. “We had so many media requests that my phone died while in transit and I had to charge it with the BBC crew in their cars while I did the interview.”

But again Mizell says she was lucky. Instead of broken windows and downed trees she just came home to her Schnauzer, Brinkley.

World Vision is an international Christian relief and development organization based in Federal Way, WA. 

The New Face of American Poverty

A new documentary to be released next month highlights our nation’s poverty. Hear from a Chicago woman about how World Vision helped her family overcome a culture of violence and hopelessness.

(Sheila Howard – photo Midgett Productions)

When Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney portrayed Democratic President Barack Obama’s supporters – as 47 percent of the electorate – who live off government handouts and do not “care for their lives, ” Chicago’s Sheila Howard took it personally.

“Poor people I know don’t feel entitled”, says 54-year old Sheila Howard from Chicago’s West Side. Howard says, “People forget that there but for the grace of God go I.”

Howard is one of those featured in the new Linda Midgett documentary, “The Line” about the “new face” of American poverty. http://thelinemovie.com/ The film premiers in Washington, D.C. October 2nd.

Sojourners CEO Jim Wallis says, “more and more of our friends are in poverty — in the pews, in our workplaces — through no fault of their own, and they are slipping below the poverty level.”

The film features a single father from suburban Chicago laid off from his bank and now a regular at the local food pantry, trying to make ends meet with three kids. Sheila Howard is in the documentary because she lives on Chicago’s tough West Side where deep poverty creates a culture of violence and hopelessness. Howard works with international Christian charity World Vision as a community Development Specialist.

Howard ‘s son, JaVe’e was also in the documentary because of his involvement as a delegate in World Vision’s Youth Empowerment Program (YEP). In 2011, JaVe’e, his sister, Veesha and Sheila joined more than 130 others across the nation as they traveled to Washington, D.C. , advocating for federal youth violence prevention funding.

Sheila talked about her experience with Linda Midgett and the documentary filming. “It was my journey living below the poverty line.  I took them back to my old neighborhood to the house I grew up, and showed them where my sister was killed in 1974. ” Howard believes it was a robbery attempt though she says police have never confirmed that.

“The point of the movie is that many people are living below the poverty line through no fault of their own.  We are not all lazy, feeling entitled … wanting to live off the government, Things just happened beyond our control that caused us to fall below the line.,” says Howard.

Howard says the film gave her an opportunity to talk about her nonprofit, “Born To Be Light” www.born2blight.com. and how she was inspired by (YEP).  Howard says, “It’s working. People are understanding the significance of being a light in their home and community. Words not only carry empowering energy, they carry hope for a better tomorrow.”

Howard is going back to school to get her undergraduate degree in communications from Chicago State University.

  • A 2011 YouTube video features Howard  and her son JaVe’e, discussing how World Vision’s YEP changed their lives.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7y_3dN0nVR

  • Linda Midgett 2005 Daytime Emmy award-winner (Nominated 2006, 2007)

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1195584/

 

Worldwide Webcast: Approaching the StoryWebcast event to be held Thursday, September 20 from 1-2 p.m. PDT.Link to: http://n50.onetotheworld.net/health12Prepare yourself for a unique journey into the art of storytelling. World Vision presents a one hour worldwide webcast taking you behind-the-scenes of a magazine assignment in drought-stricken northern Kenya.

Join journalist Kari Costanza and photographer Jon Warren, who between them, have worked in over 70 countries. They’ll discuss how to put yourself in the right place at the right time to capture the narrative and images of a compelling story that honors the people who are its subjects. What makes a good photograph? How do you get someone to open up about themselves? The program will be live and interactive. Questions welcome 

Lazaro

What’s the health of a six-year-old child worth? How much would I be willing to pay?

Recently, I got a chance to meet 6 year-old Lazaro, who lives with his five brothers and sisters on a hilltop on the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley in Central Kenya. I don’t know much about him other than that he herds goats for his family, that he likes games with a ball and that he is very, very, very shy.

But behind his shyness is a wisdom and a sadness I saw in his eyes that belies his age. What has he seen in those six years? How many nights did he go to bed without enough to eat? According to the latest UN statistics, more than 850 million people go to bed hungry each night. Has Lazaro been one of them? I’m eager to know more about him but what am I willing to give up to make sure he has access to the most basic of life’s needs: food security, basic nutrition, education and access to clean water?

It Doesn’t Take Much to Make a Difference

Is Lazaro’s life worth a tall latte?

As a “Re-Purposed Journalist” I came to rely on that mid-morning, double-tall, non-fat latte every day of the week. It gave me the kick I needed. My local Starbucks charges $3.24 (tax included) for 8 ounces of ground espresso and steamed milk. A tall latte is something most of us in Seattle take for granted. You buy one a day it’ll run you $842.40 a year. However, if you cut your habit down to just two a week, you’ll save more than enough to sponsor a child like Lazaro for one year.

So that’s what I’ve decided to do.

I want my creature comforts as much as the next guy but when I think about how a little sacrifice makes a big difference. Well, that’s something I can swallow.

Lazaro lives on a hilltop. The view is breathtaking. 

The Great Rift Valley
Kenya

I live in Seattle where a view like this would cost you millions. But Lazaro and his family look at the Great Rift Valley from a thatched hut with mud floors. So maybe here is a good place to help, and maybe find out just how much one child’s life is worth.

Two tall lattes a week? Sure.

http://www.worldvision.org/

Kari Costanza
On Assignment – Kenya

Kari Costanza’s Tips for the Re-purposed Journalist

1. It’s not about you.

2. Don’t do it if you don’t truly like people

3. Be prepared for a joy and a pain that you could never imagine when you were studying to become a journalist in school.

After graduating from the University of Washington, Kari held a job as news producer at KIRO 7 TV and at several stations on the East Coast. As a producer, Costanza says, “I shaped and wrote much of the newscast. I worked with anchors, reporters, photographers and production staff to condense the news of the day into a 30 minute broadcast.”

Costanza met that daily deadline for ten years. Then one day she remembers a KIRO 7 TV colleague, Tony Ventrella walking by her newsroom desk and whispering, “You’re not happy. You need to make a change.”  The words haunted her because they rang true.

It was spring, 1995.

Then her mother cut out a news article in her hometown paper, the  Tacoma News Tribune about how a Christian non-profit called World Vision was moving from Southern California to Federal Way. In June she was hired.

She has never looked back.

In the first five years after joining the World Vision video department, Kari produced 300 videos. She became Managing Editor of World Vision Magazine in 2000. In 2010, World Vision International asked her to be Global Editor. Today, Kari Costanza is Editor of Special Projects and Content Curation. In 17 years with World Vision, Kari Costanza has been to 40 countries.

Kari Costanza 
in Turkana, Kenya

“The hardest part is when you care about people and they die, ” says Costanza. “We did this story in Rwanda in August. We’d heard that 10 people had died in a refugee camp.”  As always, Costanza wanted to personalize the story. At a hospital near the camp, she met a woman named Solange who had lost a daughter since moving to the camp from the Congo. She and NPPA Photographer of the Year Lisa Berglund produced a video of Solange and her baby, Esther when they came back from Africa. “But then, after we left Rwanda, we found out that Esther died. We mourned. I just went into my cubicle and cried,” says Costanza.

“That doesn’t happen in TV news.”

On Thursday, September 20th, at 1pm (Pacific) Kari will join World Vision award-winning photographer Jon Warren for a presentation at Seattle Center as part of the Center’s “The Next Fifty” Celebration called “Approaching The Story.”

Links:

For the Solange story:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iciR3jGCiaA

For the One to the World Digital Classroom: http://n50.onetotheworld.net/health12#