Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Spilling Over

Welcome to Multimedia U.

Each month, Framework will feature a project from an educational institution, bringing attention to the work of emerging visual journalists across the country and around the world. If you would like us to consider your project for publication on Framework, please email us with a brief description of your project and a link to your work.

This month’s project was produced by students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Lauren Frohne, a second-year master’s candidate at UNC and one of the photo/video reporters involved in the project, sent the following report about the project:

We produced “Spilling Over” as part of our fellowship with UNC-Chapel Hill’s News21 project, Powering a Nation. News21 is a 10-week summer fellowship program, sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation, whose goal is to advance the U.S. journalism industry by helping revitalize schools of journalism. Each of the eight incubator newsrooms chose a topic to investigate. UNC decided to stay with its 2009 topic of energy in the U.S. and continue contributing to Powering a Nation.

We spent the spring semester brainstorming energy-related story ideas and angles. We wanted to find really personal stories that deal with our energy crisis. One that we felt very passionate about was examining how some Americans are disproportionately affected by our energy demands and desires, a story package we called “On the Edge.”

Then, at the end of April, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster happened. We realized that this story really demonstrated the angle we were trying to find: communities of people who are bearing the burden of our energy needs by having their homes, health and livelihoods threatened.

About a week into the spill, three of our photo/video reporters, Jessey Dearing, Lauren Frohne and Elena Rue, headed down to Louisiana to find the story. After many days of following leads and talking for hours with residents, we landed in Venice. The people we met there invited us into their community to help tell their story. Our team went back two more times and spent a little more than three weeks embedded in the community.

Jessey Dearing was the primary producer and editor on the story and worked with Lauren Frohne to shoot the majority of the video used in the final piece. Elena Rue and Mike Ehrlich also contributed video and reporting to the project.

We shot the majority of the video on the Canon 7D, which allowed us to capture intimate moments with the families we worked with. Our interviews were two-camera set-ups using a Sony V1U HD video camera as the primary video and audio, and synced it with our second camera in post-production. Additional audio was recorded with Zoom H4N audio recorders using the built-in microphone, shotgun mic, or wireless lavs.”

In addition to “Spilling Over,” we also produced sidebar vignettes featuring other members of the Venice community, titled “People of Plaquemines,” as part of our On the Edge story package.

Our other Powering a Nation story packages include:

●      Nuclear Properties, which included the video “Splitting Main Street,” and examines the federal government’s investment in nuclear power.

●      Manufacturing Change, a story looking at how green industry investment is helping to revitalize Detroit, and features the video story “Power Play: Story of a Start Up.”

●      Black Out on the Hill, investigating the federal government’s role in creating a clean energy economy

●      The Power of Water, which examines the relationship between energy and clean drinking water and includes a game in which the reader attempts to run a town and balance its water use

●      The Energy Cocktail, an interactive game experience that allows readers to try to develop an acceptable combination of energy sources to meet future energy demands

1 Comment

  1. August 11, 2010, 10:33 am

    UNC is producing great work! Beauiful and informative video.

    The "email us here" doesn't work. it goes to a 404. I've tried sending an email to but it only returns to sender.

    By: Steve

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