In addition to my work as a senior enterprise editor at HuffPost, I am a teaching associate professor at the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. In that capacity, I served as a coach for our Documentary Multimedia Storytelling in the spring of 2019. Our team of student videographers, photographers, reporters, designers, developers and faculty are focused this year’s project on decoding the political and economic crisis in Venezuela. “Uprooted” tells the stories of families who have fled to Medellín, Colombia. It is easy to get lost in the sheer numbers while covering Venezuela’s crisis, and in the policy decisions that are driving people from their homes. Our series explores the people it is affecting most deeply, as well as the intrinsic, historic connection between Venezuela and Colombia.
We chose Medellín because it is the second largest city in Colombia and one of the most popular areas for Venezuelan immigrants to re-settle. We hope the stories of struggle, resilience, acceptance and tension will shed light on Venezuelans’ struggles and inspire positive change for the millions of people this humanitarian crisis has displaced.
Uprooted is an interactive multimedia project of MEJO 584: Documentary Multimedia Storytelling at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Media and Journalism. In past projects, students have reported across five continents and produced award-winning multimedia work. As students, we’re learning the rewards and challenges of reporting on different cultures; as journalists, we are working as a team to tell the stories that are shaping the globe.
The final product is website out team fully designed and built to house five feature-length articles, five short documentaries, a photo essay, and a variety of multimedia and graphic elements. While we recognize this cannot tell the full story of the crisis, we hope it provides new insight from the view of student journalists. Our students balance the demands of this intense, immersive course while continuing their other classes and commitments. It is truly a remarkable, professional quality body of work that we are excited to share with this year’s OJA judges.