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Who are we?

January 27, 2014 by   

Last week, after our Reporting Story class, Mark mentioned that the founder of MediaStorm would be coming to the U of O next month. Intrigued, I decided to explore their site for this week’s blog post. I was highly impressed, both by the organizations material and their mission. They state that they are leading a “paradigm shift” in multimedia story telling and are focused on “inspiring audiences to take action.” They believe that “compassionate storytelling builds empathy, and that empathy is the first step towards creating positive change.” Their hope is that they can “bridge the gap between perception and understanding–building connections across the shared human experience.” ( I could not agree with these goals more and hope to create pieces that meet this mission at some point soon in my career.

I was touched by many of the MediaStorm pieces (beware the site is a wonderful but slightly dangerous time vortex) but I decided to post the this piece because of its discussion about journalism, which I thought the rest of the class might find intriguing. The piece is about an organization called Ripple Effect Images, which was founded by three photographers. There is a film on each photographer separately, as well as a condensed piece on the organization as a whole. I chose the piece about Lynn Johnson because I was particularly struck by some of her points, as well as the filmmaker’s choices in the piece.

The film starts with Lynn saying, “I’m short. I’m shy. I’m a mature woman. And if I didn’t acknowledge the truth of who I am, then I cant even try to share the truth of who you are.” The audience hears these words while watching her slightly nervous and awkward movements on camera as she attempts to get comfortable for her interview. The vulnerability and honesty of this portrayal pulled me right in. This was also an obvious and necessary choice by the filmmaker – if the subject is commenting on the need for journalist to acknowledge truth in themselves and the subject, then portrayal of truth at that moment in the film seemed a must. I found the execution of this moment to be incredibly well crafted.

Another of Lynn’s points that struck me was during minute eight, with her discussion about creating action and solution oriented stories with the subject as a “collaborator”. She states “let us use powerful visually imagery and storytelling to actually move people to action. You can do that if you don’t have a collaborator on the other side of the camera. You have to be lead by the lives that you’re witnessing.” I’m still mulling over the implications of this statement. I’m curious what others think!


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