Month in Review - Best of June, 2019

It’s already been a month since I’ve been interning with the News & Observer and what a month it has been. Assignment work is fun yet challenging, especially when trying to find the balance between photo and video. Over the past month, I’ve really been trying to hone on my daily video skills, applying all that I have learned in the past year.

Every day is different and that’s what I enjoy the most. Here are some of my favorite videos and images from the month of June:

Beaver Queen Pageant

Video: This year’s Beaver Queen Pageant had a Damilton theme. That’s a play on Hamilton, the wildly popular musical, and dam, like beavers make. As usual, the fundraiser was marked by humor and outrageous costumes.

Young members of the crowd watch one of the acts at the 2019 Beaver Queen Pageant on June 1, 2019 in Durham Park.

2018 Beaver Queen, Flat Tail Fanny, walks through the crowd on June 1, 2019 at the 2019 Beaver Queen Pageant in Durham Park.

The Islamic Association of Raleigh celebrates Eid

Members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh walk into prayer to celebrate the the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide on June 4, 2019.

Members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide on June 4, 2019.

Video: Members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh celebrated the end of Ramadan with over 8,000 people at the Exposition Center on the North Carolina Fairgrounds on Tuesday, June 4, 2019.

Garner graduates return to roots

Video: Garner Magnet graduating seniors who attended the Timber Drive Elementary school returned for a student clap-out in which they were celebrated for their achievement.

'They call me the Walrus' says racquetball champion Brent Walters

Video: Raleigh’s Brent Walters holds the national record for most racquetball state open championship wins. Recently, at the men’s open singles national championship he won his 14th and 15th national titles.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson sets his sights on Tokyo 2020

Video: U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson trains to compete in the Angel City Games, an elite adaptive sports competition. This is one of a few events he will compete in as he prepares to qualify for the paralympic games in Tokyo in 2020.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson prepares for practice on June 6, 2019 in Raleigh, NC.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson warms up before his practice on June 6, 2019 in Raleigh, NC.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson poses for a portrait in Durham, NC on June 7, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson receives final instructions from his coach before his race in Durham, NC on June 8, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson regulates the pressure in his prosthetic leg before a race in Durham, NC on June 8, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson warms up before his race in Durham, NC on June 8, 2019.

U.S. Paralympian Desmond Jackson poses for a portrait in Durham, NC on June 7, 2019.

Flooding in Wake County

Ryan Brown, 43, crosses a submerged portion of Highway 96 in Zebulon Saturday afternoon after heavy rains caused flooding in northern Wake County.

On rehab assignments, two NY Yankees all-stars face the Durham Bulls

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge signs autographs after batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Judge was playing with the RailRiders on a rehab assignment.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge signs autographs after batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Judge was playing with the RailRiders on a rehab assignment.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton during batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC. Stanton was playing with the RailRiders on a rehab assignment.

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge watches batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton walks out of the batter's box after completing batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton signs autographs after batting practice with the Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate, on June 14, 2019 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, NC.

He went missing in Korea nearly 70 years ago. Now, a soldier’s body is finally home

Funeral Director Hubert D. Pope waits for the remains of Army Pfc. William H. Jones to arrive at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019. Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War on Nov 26, 1950.

The U.S. Army Color Guard salutes as the remains of Army Pfc. William H. Jones arrive at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019. Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War on Nov 26, 1950.

Army Pfc. William H. Jones remains arrive at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019. Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War on Nov 26, 1950. Several decades passed before his body was recovered after North Korea turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of American service members killed during the Korean War.

Family members of Army Pfc. William H. Jones commemorate him at RDU Airport in Raleigh, NC on June 20, 2019.

North Carolina Secretary of Veterans Affairs Larry Hall, Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray and members of the U.S. Army honor guard commemorate U.S. Army Private First Class William "Hoover" Jones at the North Carolina State Capitol on June 21, 2019. In 1950, Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War. Last year, North Korea turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of American soldiers. He was one of them.

North Carolina Secretary of Veterans Affairs Larry Hall, Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray and members of the U.S. Army honor guard commemorate U.S. Army Private First Class William "Hoover" Jones at the North Carolina State Capitol on June 21, 2019. In 1950, Jones went missing-in-action during the Korean War. Last year, North Korea turned over 55 boxes containing the remains of American soldiers. He was one of them.

A hope for reclamation and preservation at an old African-American cemetery in Durham

Video: The Friends of Geer Cemetery hosted a Reclamation Celebration at the Geer Cemetery and part of the event was dedicated to re-erecting a gravestone that was toppled and buried long ago.

Brothers on the Pitch

The Premiere

The FedEx Global Education Center welcomed over 300 attendees for the premiere of Uprooted. Photo Credit: Tenley Mae Garrett

Last night was special.

Four months of hard work culminated in a successful presentation of our project, Uprooted.

Over 300 members of our community came to campus to watch the live presentation of the short documentaries that told the stories of Venezuelan migrants in Medellín, Colombia. It was a surreal experience to see the impact the films had, and I’m grateful to have been a part of this amazing project.

The ‘Economy’ team. From left, journalist Brooklynn Cooper, visual storytellers Bryan Cereijo and Abby Cantrell, and designer Kailee Akers.

Celebrating after the premiere. Photo Credit: Alex Kormann

To the Vinotinto FC family, thank you so much for allowing us into your lives and sharing your story. The world now knows how special you all are.

Laurenti Velasquez and Alvaro Junior Cardenas of Vinotinto FC.

The Process

After filming for 10 days in Colombia, our team had a little over a month to edit the films together. We would share our radio cuts, scenes, assemblies, and rough cuts in class and give each other feedback. It was a long and tedious process, but it proved worthy.

Here’s what our final timeline looked like:

Scenes are coded by different colors, natural sounds make up the first three audio tracks, the interview audio makes up the fourth track, and the music bed is in the fifth and sixth track. Having this coordination is definitely helpful during the polishing phase.

While the video team worked on editing the short documentaries, the developers, writers, designers and photographers worked on making sure the website was coming together, the stories were polished, the interactive graphics were functioning, and the photo journey was edited.

The Final Product

And here is my team’s final video:

Most Venezuelans who have the fortune of making it to Colombia find the things that they lack in their home country: food, safety, employment and the list goes on. But sometimes, even when life’s basic necessities are fulfilled, you can still feel a void. This is the story of how an immigrant from Caracas filled his void through sport—and helped dozens of other Venezuelans fill theirs too in the process.

You can explore the rest of the project at http://uprooted.unc.edu - where you will find the four other documentaries, the written pieces, the interactive graphics, and the photojourney.

Ten Days in Colombia

The past couple of weeks have been busy. There’s been filming, working on midterms, more filming, getting ready for Colombia, more filming, traveling to Colombia, more filming, and now I am finally back in the States. 

It’s taken me a couple of days to regroup - and I’m still working on it - but I’ve finally have been able to gather myself enough to sit down and write a bit about my experience.

Traveling to Medellín, Colombia with the Uprooted UNC group was an amazing experience. I’m grateful for this opportunity because it was inspiring and meaningful: we traveled, met awesome people, and documented important stories.

There were a lot of moments of reflection during the trip in which I just thought about how incredible it was that I was in another country, doing what I most care about, and working with my peers to shed light on the struggles that Venezuelans face when they are forced to flee their country.

Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite moments and images from the trip as my peers and I start putting the entire project together for an April 23rd premiere date.

The view from Medellín’s recently inaugurated ‘ Metrocable .’ The Miraflores station became the fifth gondola lift station in the city, making Medellín one of the cities with the best sustainable public transportation in the country.

The view from Medellín’s recently inaugurated ‘Metrocable.’ The Miraflores station became the fifth gondola lift station in the city, making Medellín one of the cities with the best sustainable public transportation in the country.

No Te Rindas

Last week in my documentary video storytelling class, we were assigned an “interpretation” assignment in which we could choose any poem and put together a narrative to represent it.

I wanted to make the assignment meaningful. I had never made an interpretation piece where I had to think about every shot in the video beforehand and the meaning it would contribute.

This project became significantly more special when my mom - who was visiting - agreed to be a part of it, reading one of the poems that she constantly reminds me of when I’m too stressed and not feeling too well.

No Te Rindas translates to “Don’t Give Up,” and it’s a poem by Mario Benedetti that reminds us to keep pushing forward, to keep going despite the many hardships we may face. Why?

“Because every day is a new beginning,

Because this is the hour and the best moment.

Because you are not alone, because I love you.”

My mom and I filmed for three days and edited it all together on the last day. It was awesome to give her insight as to what I did - from the filming, to the editing, to the countless hours spent looking for royalty free music that would perfectly fit the video. It was like ‘Bring Your Parents to Work’ weekend (which actually exists).

We were both happy with the end result, but more importantly, with the time we spent together creating something meaningful for the both of us.

When she got on the plane, she sent me a text that read “thank you for allowing me to be a part of your projects. I really enjoyed it. I love you.” Love you too, mamá. This is a video and an experience that we will both forever cherish.