NOW on PBS has nominated “Afghanistan: The Forgotten War,” and “Nurses Needed” for national Emmy Awards. I produced both of these stories in 2008.
The Afghanistan piece, in particular, is a prime example of how the “backpack journalism” model is revolutionizing the field of visual communication on television and on the Internet. Few media outlets are willing or able these days to invest the time, money and muscle to send a team of journalists to distant corners of the earth to generate quality content. Just as importantly, the U.S. military is more likely to accommodate a single journalist with a hand-held camera than a team of journalists with unwieldy, conventional equipment.
“Afghanistan: The Forgotten War,” embodies the idea of backpack journalism. I pitched this piece, then produced it, shot it, wrote it and narrated it. The model works. I view the success of the Afghanistan story, which also was named the Number 3 most popular story broadcast by NOW on PBS in 2008, as validation of the backpack journalism model.
And I feel its success undermines the argument that foreign news is too expensive to produce.
I am delighted that NOW on PBS sustains a platform for serious content that provides viewers with the information we need to make important decisions about our lives and the life of our nation. This is the social obligation that too many of the corporate media choose to ignore.