ARCHIVES

FROM AFGHANISTAN

March 4th, 2011

This is a series of shorts that I feel tells a story about a place I’ve never been, through the eyes of a military that I do not know. However, as a viewer, I found these shorts had impact and provided me with a sense of what it is like to be a foreign soldier in what is now the longest war fought by the United States. Sadly, it is just one of many wars the Afghans have fought over the decades.

I don’t have a real comment nor a proposed solution. Staying the course means more lives, more money, and more trouble with our relationships to Pakistan and India. To withdraw will likely mean more Afghan lives–especially those of women–and, again, Pakistan and India. Much smarter people than myself have run the scenarios. They know the players and possible outcomes, so I’ll let them speak about it. Either way, we’re there.

I compiled these clips is because I believe we cannot forget what our country is doing and we cannot forget the people who are doing it. In our name. Regardless of how you or I feel about the war itself. I have also compiled these clips because of the journalists who are there, and the risks they face to bring this war home to their viewers.

This first clip is in French. I don’t speak French, but in a way that makes me pay more attention to what is happening. I think the film crew did a good job of capturing some of the life on base, but the reason I’ve put this in here is because of what happens at roughly 06:15. It’s news video, not multimedia, but make the time to watch it. Let the moments build.

There are six more clips in this post. See them after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in afghanistan, articles, conflict, journalism, media, video, war Comments Off on FROM AFGHANISTAN

MARINES CANCEL BASETRACK

February 8th, 2011

Picture 12I wrote about Basetrack not too long ago; it’s a novel concept for journalism, a new way to report on the war in Afghanistan. Embedded journalists, supported by a stateside team, use a combination of social media and a website interface to report on a battalion of Marines. The primary audience are the friends and family of the 1000 Marines, but if you’ve visited the site or are on their Facebook feed, you’ll see that it’s a repository for a lot of things relating to the war in Afghanistan. Considering today’s fractured audience, and the ability to pull content from various feeds (thus avoiding “traditional” media), I really do think it’s a novel way to report on a war. “We’ve been calling it a media experiment,” says Teru Kuwayama, the idea guy behind it.

Today word got around that the Marine Corps, over the weekend, decided to cancel the requisite embed making Basetrack what it is. From what I could glean, and many seem puzzled, the chief reasons are operational security (OPSEC) and available resources.

From the letter the Marine Corps sent Basetrack:

“Basetrack is also being asked to leave 1/8’s positions due to perceived Operational Security violations on portions of their website. These concerns are legitimate. Specifically the websites tie in to google maps to display friendly force locations…this Public Affairs office also deems an undue burden on the remaining personnel as the Executive Officer, the primary liaison to Basetrack, rotates back to CONUS.”

Find that letter here, at the Basetrack site.

I’ll let Teru Kuwayama explain the rest here on this downloadable mp3 fromPRI’s “The World,” broadcast today.

Also, read about it here, at the Neiman Journalism Lab.

However, maybe the two most important links are:
The Basetrack Website
The Basetrack Facebook page

And one other, on the use of the iPhone as a primary camera on the battlefield.

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 10

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in afghanistan, journalism, photography, publishing, research, war, work of others Comments Off on MARINES CANCEL BASETRACK

ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

December 21st, 2010

Teru_1-8Journalism is not dead, in spite of what many in the industry bemoan, it’s simply that the industry is changing. Drastically. Photojournalist Teru Kuwayama is doing just that: frustrated by traditional outlets, he spent the last year as a Knight Fellow researching new means for content distribution. This year, he’s surprised himself by winning a Knight Foundation Grant to use his new content distribution model to report from Afghanistan.

Audiences are increasingly fragmented, diverse in their interests and able to refine how, and what, they view. Largely because of the internet. RSS feeds, Digg, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are online tools allowing viewers to pick and choose their content; no longer are they bound to the morning paper and the five o’clock news hour.

Teru_UKAs content dissemination changes, so does the role of the journalist. Objective reporting is the journalist’s creed–though “objective” is becoming increasingly less so (think FOX News versus NPR).  Journalists can now publish via the web, circumventing the filters of large publishers, and so can citizens, eyewitnesses to events. Being so close to the source, their view may be myopic and rife with opinion. This may be where the journalist’s role is changing. He or she may become more a curator of information provided by eyewitness sources, feeding to the web. That means journalists need to maintain a technological leg-up on content distribution, utilizing and designing new platforms. The tool is no longer just the pen or camera.

Where does this leave traditional media outlets? They’re still powerhouses, backed by infrastructure and revenue, but I believe as their content suffers, as viewers grow increasingly fragmented, and as technology allows additional means of distribution, traditional media will need to evolve or be relegated to the back channels of the new media world. Which may not be a bad thing.

NYT-lens-basetrackWhat Kuwayama has done is use largely existing technology and code to create a website that leverages social media. His publication is Basetrack, his distribution Facebook and other social media, his photojournalists are himself, Balasz Gardi, and Tivadar Domaniczky in the field, with support from the States. His reporters are the marines, their family, and their friends who also become their readers. It is a social media microcosm of news dissemination curated by  journalists.

Does this mean Facebook is the new news platform?

Read More About Kuwayama and Basetrack:
• Basetrack.org
• Q&A at journalism.co.uk
• On PBS.org
• NY Times Lens Blog interview by war photographer Michael Kamber
• Knight Foundation Grant

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in afghanistan, inspiration, journalism, media, photography, publishing, technique, technology, war, work of others Comments Off on ONE-EIGHT BASETRACK: TERU KUWAYAMA’S EXPERIMENTAL MEDIA PROJECT IN AFGHANISTAN

MULTIMEDIA: PAKISTAN FOR THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

October 8th, 2010

CFR-PAK-coverBrian girded me for the first review. Nearly a half-dozen staff from the Council on Foreign Relations(CFR), who are really-smart-people, came in to look at what I’d made. I’d built in mood, tension, suicide bombing, explosive music, rioting, ambivalence, war, and finished with hope; I’d followed the script they’d given me and produced a nine minute overview piece that rose and fell with the story. I paced it out to give it room to breath and to captivate the viewer.

It would be an overstatement to say I was crushed by the review. They really liked it. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. They wanted to cut some dramatic, painful moments I felt honored the fortitude and vision of the photojournalists who were there (and the people who died). But my creativity had to yield to the political implications. I was quickly learning the world of foreign policy, I thought, where a summary of history and current events may influence the decision makers shaping our policy. Something as simple as lingering on an image too long could be seen as a political statement, leading to ramifications I had yet to understand.

Sounds a bit dramatic, but that’s what I thought about New York in general while I was at MediaStorm. I met a lot of people, in a casual sense, who disseminate information and hold sway on a large scale. As a photojournalist I’ve been a part of this before–being there as events unfolded before me–but I hadn’t been in the room with editors and other decision makers, in a city that is an epicenter for news production.

In fact, this was the first time I was acting as a photo and video researcher, an editor, and a producer–and having this level of peer review. I had full access to all the wire services and boutique agencies; I was culling work from the best of the best, deciding which images would further the story, a story being deliberated upon by experts in their fields. Creatively it was empowering…but it did leave me itching to be in the field making those images.

I just finished watching the final version of the Overview for the Crisis Guide to Pakistan, for the Council on Foreign Relations. I wasn’t there for the final edit. The gifted Eric Maierson became co-producer after I left. I’m impressed. Not just by the overview, which I’m happy to see maintains a lot of my style, pacing, music and edits; I’m impressed by the entire interactive package. Especially when the CFR editor says he thinks it’s their strongest Crisis Guide to date.

This is a true multimedia, team-produced project. It is interactive, filled with graphics, and lives in the new player MediaStorm coded. While MediaStorm built it, the Council on Foreign Relations was scripting, interviewing, reviewing, researching. It was intensive and extremely well thought out. I’m proud to have been a part of the production.

Put aside 20-30 minutes to understand why Pakistan matters to our war effort in Afghanistan, to nuclear proliferation, and to interfacing with the Islamic world in general.

Watch it. Here:
CFR-PAK-overview

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in afghanistan, clients, inspiration, multimedia, publishing, technique, video, war Comments Off on MULTIMEDIA: PAKISTAN FOR THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS

TRANSPARENCY AND THE CONFLICT MINERALS IN OUR PHONES

July 31st, 2010

I’m typing on an Apple MacBook Pro while data backups are running in the background; gigabytes of images and video are flitting from Seagate to Lacie to Netgear hard drives. I have a Belkin router, a Comcast modem…I have all the accouterments of technology I need to capture content and publish in a digital world. What I don’t have is peace of mind.

I’ve spoken about and written about this before and, increasingly, so are many others. We are talking about conflict minerals, those metals essential to the electronics industry and our everyday conveniences. These metals also pay for ongoing war and sexual violence. As a consumer, I feel powerless to affect such a global issue. But, it is becoming easier to see how our role in the killing and what we can do to stop it. Like many things, it starts with transparency and accountability, through knowledge and conversation.

Jobs_EnoughProjectApple CEO Steve Jobs, as reported by Wired, recently responded to a customer about conflict minerals in Apple products. The customer wrote:

“Are you currently making any effort to source conflict-free minerals? In particular, I’m concerned that Apple is getting tantalum, tungsten, tin, and gold from Eastern Congo through its suppliers.”

Read the rest of this entry »

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Restrepo: Go See It Starting June 25

June 18th, 2010

RestrepoI received an email from Sara Terry, founder and director of The Aftermath Project, about the upcoming release of the film Restrepo, directed by Sebastian Junger (author, The Perfect Storm), and Tim Hetherington (photographer/cinematographer, four-time World Press Photo winner) who spent a year with soldiers in the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. The purpose of the documentary film is to show us what our soldiers are experiencing in what is becoming a decade-long war.

I am re-posting this for one reason: as our interest in our two wars continues to wane, films about them are received poorly by the public. Therefore, they have a limited run-time in theaters. I am encouraging you to show your support for the film, the filmmakers, and the story–because this is our story.

Sara Terry included an excerpt from photographer Tim Hetherington:

“After many years, our feature-length documentary film Restrepo is finally opening on general release in US theaters from 25th June (..UK/Europe to follow..)
As you may know, the film business is precarious and the movie now needs your support at this critical time to reach as many people as possible.
You can help by viewing the trailer at:
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/restrepo/
and if you feel inclined, then please forward this link to your own mailing lists to help spread the word.

You can also sign up to support the film at our facebook page at www.facebook.com/restrepothemovie

Thanks for your help
Tim & Sebastian
www.restrepothemovie.com”

Also of note from Sara Terry is the 2011 grant application for The Aftermath Project, which will be available in mid-August.

To Do:
• Sign up for The Aftermath Project Newsletter
• Go see the film Restrepo.

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Posted in afghanistan, events, inspiration, movies, multimedia, photography, video, war Comments Off on Restrepo: Go See It Starting June 25

TIM MATSUI CONTACT INFO

VIEW PROFILE
US mobile: 1.206.409.3069
skype: timmatsui
e: tim(at)timmatsui.com

PO Box 17941
Seattle, WA 98127 USA