Monthly Archive: November 2006

Darfur & FFI

Two fun items on the agenda: Darfur: Who Will Survive Now? and FFI

The Holocaust Memorial Museum had a special display of photographs on the outside of their building last week to raise awareness about the situation in Darfur. They projected enormous photographs onto the three walls on the outside of the building, which were accompanied by music. The images, which were taken by several photojournalists, were hauntingly beautiful. The multimedia presentation was incredibly effective. If you check out the links above, you can see a simulation of the presentation.

NPR had a story last week about a new book coming out, The Family That Couldn’t Sleep, by D.T. Max, which focuses on a family with Fatal Familial Insomnia, a rare hereditary disease related to Mad Cow that kicks in in a person’s late 50s, and makes it impossible to sleep. After about 9 months, the patient dies, basically from having been awake for nine months. There are only 2 families in the U.S. with this disorder, and 20 that are known in the world.

Human Trafficking

Another good article:The Vatican on the Human Slave Trade.

There is a Russian film called Lilja 4-ever, about a Russian girl who gets tricked into going to Sweden, only to become a sex slave. It’s a poignant introduction to the widespread practice of abducting girls and selling them, which happens to thousands of women a year all over the world–specifically from Eastern Europe. Protection Project said in 2001 that more than 2 million women and children were sold into the sex trade every year.

Last year, Lifetime did a special on the topic called Human Trafficking. You can visit the website to see clips from the movie, which raised a lot of awareness about the subject.

Last month, U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced almost $8 million in additional funding to create 10 new anti-trafficking task forces. The Trafficking in Persons Report by the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons said:

“In the 2004 Report, we used U.S. Government data that disaggregated transnational trafficking in persons by age and gender for the first time. This data shows that, of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80 percent are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also demonstrated that the majority of transnational victims were trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation.”

Telling Stories – Interactive Edition

Africa Feature: Congo

Go to this feature and watch the Congo story. The photographs are wonderful. Props to Gabe.

It’s interesting to think about the different ways that audio is integrated with photographs to make slideshows. Sometimes the effect is great (see above), and other times it seems like someone just said, “Let’s make a slideshow!”

When there are no ambient sounds or subject voices, figuring out the best way to tell an audio story can be tough. Should the photographer talk about her/his images? Should the reporter tell the story? Both of these present problems, primarily that neither are voice trained and so often the story ends up without a whole lot of emotion, even if the subject is very emotional. Really, you just wonder why the subjects aren’t the ones talking.

I think that slideshows with audio can be overused, and often are. When there aren’t enough engaging photographs to make a slideshow, don’t do a slideshow–or shorten the show to an appropriate length. Stories need to be done with audio in mind from the get-go. It’s not something you just tack on to add effect (although you can, and it can work out well)– it’s sort of like a basket. The audio and the photos blend together, leaning on each other to tell a story that ends up doing more than either could alone.

Click -n- Kill

There is a guy who used to work in my office (before my time) who would spend his slow days hunting online.

YES.. you heard me right. Hunting. Online. This revelation called for some investigating into this so-called sport.

A guy named John Lockwood started an online hunting service so that disabled people could hunt. He hooked up a gun and a computer and all you needed was a mouse to get a big kill.

That’s right folks, you can (or could) kill an actual warm-blooded animal with the click of a mouse and a Texas hunting license.



I thought Borat was a good laugh… but that might be because I was five feet in front of the screen with my neck at a 90 degree angle, and already predisposed to laughing.

But somebody didn’t like it, and there are a lot of other somebodies out there who didn’t like it either.

Is Borat’s humor insensitive? Repetitive? Is it funny or is it juvenile and raunchy? I think all of the above. It’s another testament to the uniqueness of human taste. I don’t like jokes about sex or women, and I thought the scene with the feminists and “pA-me-LA” were funny.

Unfortunately some of the people in the movie don’t think it’s funny, and it could cost Borat producers. This article on makes a good point.