Sony’s New DSLR With AU Abroad Students in Cuba

HAVANA, Cuba, 10 September 2012 — During my recent visit to Havana, I went over some of the basic functions of the Sony Alpha 77 DSLR cameras. The new, hi-tech gear was loaned to American University’s School of Communication (SOC) largely because of our Backpack Journalism Project, which I launched two years ago.

I visited Havana to oversee the beginning of the fall semester and the eight AU Abroad students spending the next four months there. I selected a Cuban instructor to teach my “Photojournalism and Social Documentary” course, which I will oversee from Washington, DC.

Some of the students are using Sony’s new Alpha 77 DSLR cameras, one of the latest to arrive on the scene of backpack video journalism. Sony has loaned American University’s School of Communication more than a dozen of the cameras, a handful of which are being used by our students in Cuba. American University is only one of eight in the United States to receive the Sony “loaners.” AU Abroad takes about 1,000 students to study overseas each year. Cuba is one of those locations.

We now are in full throttle of the technological revolution that makes the methodology of video journalism possible. These handheld cameras, which are highly regarded by young documentary filmmakers, can help produce a brand of visual communication far more immediate, far more intimate than can larger, shoulder-held cameras with extended crews.

I’ll be returning to Havana this semester, probably in November, to check in on our students — and the work they’re doing with the new Sony cameras.

(Photo by Carlos Ernesto Escalona Marti)