erika brekke is a video journalist based in san francisco, ca. she recently interned at the associated press’ tv news bureau in brussels, belgium and received her master’s degree from the medill school of journalism. her goal is to produce environmental and/or social issue documentaries.

for more info on erika, visit her profile on linkedin at:

  • Freelance Video Editor at Freelance
  • Administrative Assistant to Director of Business Development at RIDES for Bay Area Commuters
  • Intern at Bay Nature Magazine
  • Office Assistant at Business Wire
  • AmeriCorps Volunteer/Trail Crew Member at Maine Conservation Corps

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  • Northwestern University
  • Beloit College

Travis FoxTravis Fox is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and journalist. His distinctive web video and multimedia stories have been instrumental in establishing a new form of multimedia storytelling on the Internet. Kurt Andersen of New York Magazine calls Fox a “natural-born Web-video genius” and describes his work as “ambitious, subtle, tough, and remarkably beautiful.”

In 2006, Fox received the first Emmy Award presented to a web video producer for his coverage of Hurricane Katrina. In 2002, his documentary Rebuilding a Fortress, Rebuilding a Life was the first web-based production to air on national television. ABC aired the documentary twice, on UpClose and Nightline. Veteran Nightline producer Tom Bettag described the story as “extraordinary” as well as “sensitive and insightful.” The Rebuilding documentary helped Fox win both the Editor of the Year and Videographer of the Year awards from the White House News Photographers Association, the first and only time the same person has earned both distinctions in the organization’s history. The WHNPA awarded Fox Editor of the Year two other times. He has won dozens of National Press Photographers Association, Pictures of the Year International and CINE awards and has been nominated for seven Emmys.

More than anything else, Fox is known for creating multimedia stories that combine video with interactive elements. In-depth projects such as Hard Times and Crisis in Darfur are examples of this method as is the daily news coverage he produces, such as his work from China during the 2008 earthquake.

Fox graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and lives in New York.

It’s not just for me or for newspaper sites, it’s for people running their blogs. You can now essentially be your own broadcast station. It’s another one of those milestones that we are crossing on the Internet.

Sandeep Junnarkar is an associate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism (The City University of New York). He has reported for @times, the New York Times’ first presence on the Web, as well as If there is a new media journalist who you would like to see featured in a Q&A, email Sandeep here.
photo - Kim GrinfederKim Grinfeder is an assistant professor in the Visual Journalism program at the University of Miami School of Communication. He joined the faculty in 2003 and holds a master’s degree in Interactive Telecommunications from New York University and a bachelor of arts in History from the University of Miami. His research interests include interaction design and multimedia storytelling. His professional background includes positions in design, programming, and new media consulting

His awards include NPPA Best of Photojournalism (best of the web & 1st and 2nd place best multimedia package – 2006), Flash in the Can (2006), Pictures of the Year International (2006), the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Best of Web Award (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008), he has received three honorable mentions in the Knight Batten Awards (2006, 2008), a Gold Award Winner in the Horizon Interactive Awards, was nominated for a Webby Award and was a finalist at the Flash Forward Film Festival. His students have also won numerous awards for their projects under his guidance, including two Society of Professional Journalists National Mark of Excellence Awards and a Webby Award Nomination.
photo - Nancy DonaldsonNancy Donaldson is a Multimedia Journalist for New York Times, who produces video, audio, photos, panoramas and extensive multimedia packages. She received a Journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She continues her involvement with the school and has worked as a producer, director of photography and video coach for several of their award-winning interactive documentary projects. Her work for has contributed to two Pulitzer Prizes, a Peabody, two Scripps Howard Foundation’s National Journalism Awards, a Casey Medal of Honor for Meritorious Journalism and several POYi, SND and NPPA awards. She has been nominated for a local Emmy and recently was nominated for a national Emmy.
photo - Jim VirgaJim Virga has been a professional visual storyteller for more than 20 years. He has worked as a still photojournalist, cinematographer, director and has taught photojournalism at three universities. He is currently teaching in the Visual Journalism department at The University of Miami.

After completing his undergraduate degree at The University of Florida, Virga worked as a staff photographer for The Leesburg Commercial, The Orlando Sentinel and then at The Sun-Sentinel for ten years (1989-1999).

In 2001 Virga was awarded an MA in Visual Arts and Communications from the Newhouse School of Communication at Syracuse University. While at Newhouse, he studied digital filmmaking, and received a $50,000 grant to direct “Dancing on Mother Earth,” a documentary for Native American Public Television about a year in the life of singer/activist Joanne Shenandoah. The film was broadcast on PBS, and played at several film festivals. In 2006, Virga’s short documentary “El Charango” was an official selection at the SILVERDOCS AFI/DISCOVERY Documentary Film Festival.

At McClatchy’s Miami Herald, according to photographer-turned-videographer Chuck Fadely, “We have four people on the photo staff doing video full time, and we’re doing 15 to 18 [stand-alone] pieces a week.”

Consequently, when the National Press Photographers Association offered a multimedia workshop at its annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, this year, it quickly filled all 40 available slots, with a waiting list of more than 50 other aspirants. These people were paying $650 or $850 for the workshop, plus hotel and travel costs. Seth Gitner, NPPA’s multimedia committee chairman, says he hopes to double the size of that workshop in 2008. “People are clamoring for more video training,” he says.

But now, says Josh Meltzer, a young multimedia photojournalist at the Roanoke Times, “I can go to the desk and say, ‘Well, I have your picture, but I also have a video story on something else that was going on there.'”

The Free Press, a former Knight Ridder paper now owned by Gannett, has come a long way since then. Its breakthrough, high-profile story involving video was a series called “Band of Brothers,” an ambitious project that followed a Michigan-based Marine battalion back from Iraq after a seven-month deployment in Fallujah. These were fully developed stories, told only partly through videos, that ran from fall 2006 into spring 2007. You can see the project here.

David Leeson on his 50th birthday, an appropriate time for a man to review his career. Leeson was a still photographer who began shooting video for the Dallas Morning News on a regular basis in 2000, which makes him a true pioneer

The videos he edited into a documentary called “War Stories,” which aired on WFAA-TV in Dallas. It won the Edward R. Murrow Award and a National Headliner Award. It was a very good year for Leeson.

“I got the camera, popped the tape in and went and found my dog,” he says. “I shot a video of the dog, and I pulled a frame grab off of it. I uploaded it within minutes and sent it to the news-paper as a test, transmitting it just as I would be doing from Katrina, and the results were astonishing.” The picture’s quality was good enough for a four- or five-column photo on a news page.

A small selection of images from the new coffee table book by photographer Jessica Hilltout that captures the soul of African football in a 208 page photographic essay.

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traded real soccer balls for theirs

Jessica Hilltout; Domingos Ball, Mozambique; Chicome, Mozambique; from Amen series

Contemporary art, with it’s postmodern penchant for theory-riddled subtext and quirky aesthetics, doesn’t often fall under the category of “feel good” entertainment. That’s not a degradation, it’s a generalization by someone who looks at a lot of contemporary art. And nobody ever said that the role of art is solely to make the viewer feel good. However, when one comes across a series of work that is both visually and intellectually compelling, as well as inspiring, one takes notice. Perhaps one (that would be me) is even seeking it out on a subconscious level. Humans and their pesky yearning to be inspired. We seek this kind of joy and inspiration in other forms of art and entertainment as well, including: film, literature and sports. And in the case of sporting events, I can think of no better example of people coming together from around the world to be inspired and compelled than the FIFA (Soccer) World Cup. Sure, the Olympics draws upon that enthusiasm and serves up its share of inspiration every four years as well, but not like the World Cup. These fans are dedicated; they know the game, they follow the teams and players 365 days a year, every year. They play the game themselves.

Jessica Hilltout; petit-poto, Burkina Faso; James Town, Accra; from Amen series

As the 2010 World Cup kicks off its first full week in South Africa, the culmination of joy and inspiration seems even more heightened in comparison to previous years. Its host country is a historical nerve center for racial strife, social tension and high crime, with a rapidly increasing rate of disease, including HIV/AIDS. It is also a “model of racial reconciliation following decades of apartheid, with a burgeoning black middle class” (source). And, as often happens when a country finds itself climbing out of the trenches of tragedy, an event such as the World Cup—or even a simple pickup game of soccer—acts as a natural binding agent, suffusing hope far beyond the reach of sports enthusiasm. I should note that, certainly, not everyone takes such an optimistic view of the World Cup in South Africa, and of course my view is that of an outsider in any case; an observation more than an opinion. But by in large, the World Cup and the game of soccer (er, football) are inspiring a nation and a world at the moment.

Jessica Hilltout; Orlando, Chicome; Michael Sarkodie, Ghana; from Amen series

But what if the grandiose spectacle of the World Cup is removed from the sport? Will a nation—a continent—still be inspired by the game? In a new solo exhibition at Joao Ferreira Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa, Belgian photographer Jessica Hilltout presents a series of work entitled Amen, capturing images of rural football players from all over Africa. Equally inspiring to the aforementioned global match, the matches played by the rural footballers offer none of the World Cup’s fanfare. Their equipment is makeshift, their pitches (fields) are crude. There are no Nike logos or Gatorade sponsorships. But the essence of joy—of hard work, inspiration and coming together around a game—translates the same. As the artist says, “Amen, above all else, captures the strength of the human spirit.”

Jessica Hilltout; Demble, Ivory Coast; Unknown, Bukina Faso; from Amen series

Born in Belgium, Jessica Hilltout has had a nomadic that has taken her across Europe, Asia and Africa. She earned her BA in Photography at Blackpool College of Art, UK. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at The National Portrait Gallery, London and Aliceday Gallery, Brussels.

Ume Kayo

Photos by Ume Kayo. I LOVE these.

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