I know the honeymoon period over President Barack Obama seems to have passed in the eyes of most Americans (his approval rating is now 44 percent). But in the black community you’re still likely to hear talk about how much Obama’s election has meant to African Americans–particularly, young African Americans.
The notion is that now that Obama has become the most important person in the land, black children all across the United States finally have been shown that they can do anything. To me, that thinking is still too small. Continue reading →
The East Oakland Boxing Association is about more than boxing. The center also has a youth internship program that trains young people in skills that could help them get a job or start a business. The center also has a community garden and hosts a farmer’s market. Recently, a group of youth interns worked with another nonprofit to overhaul the center’s water use and improve its water conservation. This is the story I did about the program for Daniel Weintraub’s healthycal.org.
If you’re a journalist thinking about building your own site from the ground up, good for you. Here’s a word of advice, though. If you’re one of those coding amateurs out there like me, save yourself some trouble and use a grid. For starters, a grid will give you that “fit and finish” you see in all those good-looking sites not built by journalists. A grid also makes it easy to transfer your design from Photoshop to the Web, which is the basic process for all good Web design (thanks Richard Koci Hernandez for that secret). Continue reading →
“The judges decided that this was a winning entry because we were really impressed by the quality of the production of this piece. We were also really impressed that it was all put together by a single journalist. The reporter did the reporting, did the programming of the flash site, did the design work, the video editing, without really compromising the quality of any of those different elements. The story allows you to follow two different threads using guides. We thought that this is something we’d like to see more of generally in the news industry–helping lead the reader through the story, and this is what this piece managed to do very well.”
A short photo documentary I produced for my multimedia photography class at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. It focuses on two sets of black parents who aren’t married but, despite the often misconstrued stereotypes about black families, are still involved in raising their children.
Before I share my recollections on my last night in the country, I wanted to share something I forgot to mention in the last entry.
On the night we got back from Pujehun, after everyone had dropped off their bags at Sahid’s place, I was sitting in the foyer of the house just outside of the living room waiting for the Internet to load when Augustine, the teenager who stays with Sahid and his family in Freetown, approached me very quietly. I could tell he was connecting with me since we first began talking about hip hop in America.
So when he approached me, he was very honest. Standing against the wall, he told me that his views about agriculture had changed since I had arrived. A few days ago, he was explaining how he, like many youths in Freetown, felt agriculture was not appealing to him. But he said he had witnessed my commitment to my assignment and how I had traveled to each youth farming group in the provinces to hear what they had to say about agriculture. That effort, he said, had inspired him to perhaps go into farming after he finishes secondary school.
That statement right there should be an indication that youths’ attitudes about agriculture in Sierra Leone are indeed changing. Continue reading →
I’ve been without the electricity or time now to jot down my daily thoughts for a while. But here are my recollections of the last few days.
On Friday, we traveled to Kono in the eastern part of the country. It is known as the breadbasket of the country because of its rich diamond resources. How do you know you’re in Kono? You can feel the bumpy roads along the way to the district (and, in the case of the video below, you can hear them as well). Continue reading →
I’m starting to feel right at home. We spent most of the day Wednesday in Waterloo, in the Western Area Rural District, where we met with three youth farming groups. They all had interesting stories and seemed very determined to get their projects off the ground. Continue reading →
The journey to Sierra Leone was long. I left California Monday afternoon and, after two layovers, I finally arrived at my destination the next evening. It really didn’t start to sink in that I was heading to Africa until our plane began flying over the Sahara. All I remember seeing was vast areas of sand, with layers of blue and orange coating the horizon. The nice lady sitting next to me described it as an “ocean of brown.” I would concur.
When I arrived at the airport, I was both excited and anxious. Excited because I couldn’t believe that I had actually made it to the Motherland. Anxious because the task ahead of me, I knew, was going to be a challenge. Continue reading →