Video Journalism and Rising to the Challenge

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, 14 December 2013 — This is the final video produced by Nicolas Pereyra at my Backpack Video Journalism Workshop in Montevideo. It’s about a Venezuelan woman living in Uruguay and the Venezuelan-style specialty, called “arepas,” she prepares for hungry customers.

Nicolas did a great job of adapting to a shifting landscape in the field. Like all participants in the event, Nicolas came to the workshop with an idea for his documentary. And like others, the initial idea fell through, for any number of reasons. But Nicolas came back with Plan B and then Plan C, which worked. So the lesson here is that we have to rise to the challenge of our work. Remember, if were easy, everybody could do it well. But it’s not easy. It’s hard. And we do it anyway. And that’s what defines success.

Click HERE to see the video.

The five-day event was organized by Valentina Quagliotti, an exchange student at American University in 2010. Valentina is the founder of Ikusi, a non-profit dedicated to making positive social change with video. My trip to Uruguay was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo.

As did many of his colleagues, Nicolas used an HDSLR to make his video. My central message to all participants in these workshops is that, regardless of the devices they use to make their videos, they have access to some of the most powerful tools in the history of mankind. And these are the digital cameras and the Internet. Never before have we been able to communicate instantly, globally and in a language, the visual language, to connect, to motivate and even to earn — until now.