Soundslides Project


War – The Long Haul, Sides of the Wire & How I Cover the Afghanistan War with the 5dmkll

All 3 stories are of photojournalists who were able to capture pictures of war. The images from The Long Haul and Sides of the Wire were really good. I think they drew the viewer in, to get a sense of how the surroundings were for the soldiers, and the kind of environment they were in. Even without reading the text, the pictures did enough of the talking. The text was more like an added bonus in my opinion to explain what the pictures were about and also to tell things from what the journalist and photojournalist saw and endured.

How I Cover the Afghanistan War with the 5dmkll, was more about the photojournalist describing how he had to prepare him and his camera to be able to get good shots. It is a whole lot more complicated process than just pushing a button. He had to make sure his camera was sturdy and protected, to the effect, that he had to build things to hold the camera steady on a tripod and protect it. I cannot imagine this being an easy task, for he had to condition his arms to be able to lift the weight of the camera and the tripod, to be able to get good video and quality shots. Also fanatasic pictures from the article.

Final Story


Nigeria, a country on the continent of Africa has faced turmoil over the years. To the Western world, Nigeria is a developing nation that battles with religious crisis within the country; and is also known for its fraudulent activities. A fraudulent activity is what is more commonly known as ‘419′.  This is where you are sent an email by an unknown person, who claims to have a substantial amount of money in their possession and needs to wire the money to an offshore bank account in order for it to be claimed. The unwise man would fall for this ploy and be scammed. In essence, they end up losing their money, due to sheer greed.

On December 25, 2009, everything changed for the worse, for the nation of Nigeria. Umaru Farouk Abdulmutallab was arrested for a terrorist threat, after the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253. He was suspected of trying to detonate a bomb that was on him, but was unsuccessful and was then bombarded by other passengers, who held him down, until the authorities took him into custody.

This was a turning point for all Nigerians. We had managed to put ourselves on the ‘map’, but not in such a way that we wanted to be remembered for. Now, this is a story Nigerians do not need to add to their resume. The country has enough problems on its own, for it to have to deal with this.

Nigerians all over the world were dumbfounded when the news was reported. This kind of behavior was unheard of, and not synonymous with Nigerians to say the least, Nigerians were outraged and confused at the same time. Not only was Abdulmutallab making Nigerians look bad, they could not understand what had led him to such drastic measures. Abdulmutallab came from a prominent family in Nigeria. His father was the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and he held other high positions as well. With his father well known and being a prominent figure in Nigeria, he was able to afford his children with luxuries, like the ability to study abroad.

There are differing opinions amongst Nigerians as to whether Umaru Abdulmutallab should be considered fully Nigerian. “…he is Nigerian, if you consider the fact his father is. But he didn’t really spend any time in Nigeria”, said Omoregbe Omobogie. This is the sentiment felt by most, who feel that Abdulmutallab did not spend ample time in Nigeria, for him to be submerged fully into the culture. A lot of his time was spent outside of the country, due to his studies and him travelling. So all in all, his radicalization or way of thinking is not that of the average Nigerian.

“When Richard Reid the shoe bomber was apprehended, they did not talk about him being from the United Kingdom. It was him, Richard Reid the terrorist, not Richard Reid the British guy….All the news kept talking about was the Nigerian terrorist…yes, he is a citizen of Nigeria, but he has lived outside Nigeria for most of his life…” said Innocent Ogbede. His ways are not like that of the atypical Nigerian, but rather of the environment in which he submerged himself into. And they would be the Islamic culture, in which he so adamantly followed and embraced.

 News networks were condemning all Nigerians and not threading carefully with their words. A whole nation cannot be judged by the acts of one man. If anything, the fault should lie with the officials, for they were forewarned, but did not take any action. Umaru Mutallab, Abdulmutallab’s father, reported to government officials, that he feared his son was radicalized and needed to be watched. It is not his fault that the information was mishandled and not taken as seriously as it should have. There was miscommunication all around, and it was not until after the fact, that it was later realized that it could have been possible to stop the attack, or if anything else at least be prepared for it.

After the whole incident, groups were formed on Facebook with titles such as ‘Nigerians are not terrorists’, ‘His name is not “The Nigerian Terrorist”. His name is Umar Abdulmutallab’ and ‘Get us off that list: Nigerians are NOT terrorists’, to name a few.  Clearly there was outrage by other Nigerians, who felt they should not be judged unfairly.

Nigerians are more commonly associated with ‘419’, aka fraudulent activities as stated earlier. This is not any better, for it gives others the notion that they cannot be trusted. But at the same time, you also have to look at the greed of others, who fall prey to this scam.  There is the instance of a well known American greeting card company who has a birthday greeting card that I came across. It goes something like this, on the front cover, it says, “For your birthday, I’m going to send you a check for $10,000.”  And on the inside of the card, it says, “Just as soon as my Nigerian friend I met on the Internet, wires millions in unclaimed government funds from his offshore back, to my checking account.”  This is blatant ignorance on the greeting card company’s part and just plain racist. Americans and other countries are known for their bad behavior, but you do not see anyone publicizing it in such a manner. After speaking with a female Nigerian, who asked not to be named, she said she was outraged when she the card. And she planned on writing the company to take the card off the shelves.

Back to the issue on hand, hopefully justice will be done, and Umaru Farouk Abdulmutallab will be condemned for his actions. And all Nigerians will not be judged by his actions or held accountable for what he did. A survey conducted in 2003 named Nigerian as the happiest people in the world. So you can see the irony in this whole ordeal. Nigerians just do not fit the bill for such behavior. “Nigerians love life and Nigerians will not kill themselves for no reason” said Innocent Ogbede. This is a sentiment felt by most, if not all Nigerians all around. Life is too precious a gift to be wasted.

The Distribution Revolution

Social networking sites have changed the way we communicate with one another. Gone are the days of going online to search for news, or picking up a paper, to see what the headlines are. Mind you, this is not to say that it is obsolete, it just means that things are done a little differently by some.

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are changing the way we get our news. Due to the ability of news sites to be able to post to someones facebook page, a persons entire friend list is able to see what this person has found newsworthy, or is interested in. This leads more people to want to click on the link that is made available, therefore linking more traffic to the publications site.

Also with Twitter getting more popular, people are able to ‘tweet’ about news as it is happening. The more followers you have, the more people see what you post. And if you are lucky, they retweet, again increasing traffic to your site, when people want to read up on the news.

Basically since not everything can go on the homepage of the publications site, twitter becomes essential. For they are able to put up other news that is not found in the papers. They are also able to put reminders of upcoming events that may not be included in the publications paper or site.

Social networking sites are a great tool, to draw readers to your site, if used effectively. One has to find how to appeal to their audience, and how to get them to care about the news being reported.

Here Comes Everybody

After reading this chapter, it can be said that some newspapers or editors feel slightly threatened by the internet. I say this because now more than ever, there is more freedom, and people have the ability to post what they deem newsworthy online. Gone are the days do you have to see it on the news, before you know something is happening somewhere in the world.

Newspapers can only cover but so much. And the readers are at the mercy of the gatekeepers who only give us what they deem important. The question is what happens to the other news that is not reported? Is it lost somewhere in the abyss, and only a select few get to hear about it?

Herein comes the weblogs and the internet. If enough people cover a story that is not on the news, and backup their findings with research and good arguements, there is a chance that it will become newsworthy, to be picked up by the newspapers.

At the end of the day, everything happening all around us is news. The only problem is that everything cannot be covered as they happen. The gatekeepers decide what is important, and the readers take what is given to them. The weblogs may choose to go another route and write about something not covered. It does not make it credible, unless facts and research is done. All the while, anyone can report ‘news’, they just need the right tools.

Audio / Video


This chapter was all about the art of interviewing. Often times, too many people are not prepared when they go in to interview someone.  To have a good interview, the interviewer must have prepared the questions they want answers to. It is never a good idea to schedule an interview and not know what questions to ask. It makes you look unprofessional.

To be sure to get the information as is, it is good to have a voice recorder and a notepad, so as to be able to take notes. And you can always reference back to the recorder if you missed something. It should be noted that it is courtesy to ask the interviewee if they don’t mind being recorded.

When interviewing participants for the project, I was sure to have questions already written and well thought out. That would be the only way the conversation would flow smoothly, without me always having to pause so I could think of the next question. An interview should be like a conversation, whereby you gather information about the other person. Asking questions I already know the answer to is somewhat a waste of time, unless I need clarification on something.