Backpack Journalism at Creighton University is a collaboration between the Theology Department and the Journalism, Media, & Computing Department. It came about because of a theologian interested in social justice and filmmaking and a journalist and an artist interested in filmmaking and social justice.
Each summer, a small group of students travels to a community in search of a story. Led by professors Dr. John O’Keefe, Tim Guthrie, and Carol Zuegner, the students immerse themselves in the communities, interviewing, filming, recording, and writing. When they return to Creighton, they take the stories they have collected and develop them into a short documentary film. The Backpack Journalism documentaries have been accepted at several film festivals, including the Omaha Film Festival. The class has traveled to such far-flung places as the Dominican Republic and Uganda, Bethel Alaska and Nogales Arizona/Sonora. The next project is tentatively planned for Northern Uganda in 2018.
So thankful for these hooligans. I’m grateful for everything that they have taught me about journalism, theology, life and myself. Even though it’s almost over, I know that we all will remain friends. So grateful for you guys everyday.
Now, I know it’s been a couple of weeks since the trip, but I owe my companions the the credit they deserve. They sustained me through long days (they never ended really, since the sun hardly went down), rough weather (consistent rain and mud), and a formidable work load.
They are my hat, the Panasonic camera, and my mud boots.
I found the hat on a rack at Walmart for $3.50.
“Eh, may as well,” I thought to myself.
My hat quickly became a staple for me. I can’t think of a single day I’ve gone without it since leaving for Alaska. That includes class back here in Omaha. As showers were rare, it helped hide my greasy, gross hair during the trip. I don’t really need the hat now, I just feel attached to it. So for now, it remains on my head.
I found my boots soon after I picked up the hat. Admittedly, they’re pretty cheap pieces of gear. I first bought the black, molded pieces of rubber for $12. They were unadorned. They didn’t remain so for long.
Soon my boots were caked with mud and worn in. They carried me across miles of tundra and up and down the river bank. My boots prompted my just-go-for-it attitude.My mantra for the trip soon revolved around them.
“I bought the boots, I may as well use them.”
Sadly, the boots now sit in my closet.
My final companion, though it is no longer with me, was the keystone of my Alaska experience.
The Panasonic camera, Panasonic for short, allowed me the freedom to roam. I didn’t have to share it with anyone, which allowed me to go out on B roll trips and experience the environment around me.
The Panasonic was rarely not at my side, resulting in the nickname, “Mr. Panasonic.”
I thank Tim Guthrie for allowing me to use such a gratifying piece of equipment.
These items are a part of me now. Each one holds innumerable memories.