AU Abroad and Backpack Journalism Head to Cuban Cigar Country

VINALES, Cuba, 8 October 2011 – A Cuban tobacco farmer shows American University students how to roll cigars. At left from foreground to background are Chelsea Crandall, Dara Jackson-Garrett, Cristina Khan and Emmalee Kinard. Enrolled in the AU Abroad program, they are spending fall semester studying at Casa de las Americas, Cuba’s premier cultural institute. I’m teaching my Photojournalism and Social Documentary class, the precursor of the methodology that I refer to as “backpack journalism.” At right, Benito rolls a cigar in a structure he uses to dry tobacco before selling to cigar manufacturers in Havana. In the center is a Cuban friend, Nelson.

(Photo by Bill Gentile.)