The Button Camera, Back Alleys, and French Multiculturalism

A deserted street in "No-Go Zone" in Paris.

I was holding my small HD camcorder, nearly hidden across the street. I could see through the open door of the Halal butcher shop. It was a busy day in this north Paris suburb, and a nearby Arab market was in full swing. Men were bringing in slabs of red meat from a white box truck, cutting it in long pieces, and hanging it on strings for purchase. As I looked through my viewfinder a hallowed face slowly drifted into frame, his eyes looking straight down my lens.

It took me a second to realize that I had been caught. Holding up a big butcher knife to the camera, another man walked by and shut the side door. This was no normal butcher shop–this was controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group with thick historical ties to Islamic extremism. Continue reading

Jim Cantore, Hurricane Earl, and the Storm Waiting Bug

 

Efrem Graham does a news stand up in the Outer Banks the morning after Hurricane Earl rolls through.

 

I’ve never been in a hurricane before. The closest I’ve been to experiencing one was last year this time while covering a tropical storm that formed over Virginia Beach. We dealt with flooded homes, stranded cars, downed power lines, that sort of thing. I remember in amazement the water level at my door step, watching it slosh up and over the curb. I remember barely getting to work in my gray Sonata, worried that the flooded streets would hurt my engine. Going into Hurricane Earl I didn’t know what to expect. That was a tropical storm, this was a hurricane.

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Technorati

Just got confirmed as an author for Technorati, a professional blogging website. They’ve authorized me as a writer on a whole host of subjects. Pretty cool. Sadly, I have to post a unique post with the following code to prove I’m the owner of this blog. So…here it is:

6SSS5DX35UQS

I’ll try to keep this article from updating and emailing everyone, but it may not be possible. So sorry if you get this…

Thanks for reading!!

RJ

Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em’

It’s been nothing but the usual lately…

To be honest, I haven’t covered anything worth writing about. Just typical new’s trips: abortion, gay marriage, salvation stories, religious extremism, immigration. I haven’t had any stories that break the typical news mold. And I haven’t had any interesting encounters or funny stories. So, here’s my plan…I’m going to tell a story from about a year ago, a story I was reminded of when I heard a song on the radio yesterday.

It started when a news photographer got sick. I was local for the week, on call to  shoot stories around Virginia. I had a free afternoon the next day, unbooked, and received a phone call from our scheduler. 2:30PM, he told me, in the green room, tomorrow. We had a guest coming on one of our talk shows, and I was going to shoot a side interview for our news programming beforehand. Fine.

Then our boss told me our guest was Stanley Kirk Burrell. Some of you may recognize that name. I didn’t…

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Two Blocks From Ground Zero

I was sent to Manhattan to cover a polarizing story.

An Islamic community center (basically a mosque) is being built two blocks from Manhattan’s Ground Zero, the site where Islamic extremists brought down American skyscrapers in 2001. As for my opinion, I’m torn. Lucky for me, as a visual journalist, I get to be neutral and let people decide for themselves. However, I do have a few observations from our interviews while visiting New York…

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The Redshirt Champion

Coach K watches over his players during a pre-game practice.

Gordon Hayward was crying on the back of a golf cart behind the stadium. They were about to drive him to a private CBS studio for a post game interview. I was holding a steady close up of the kid’s face: red, tired, and beaten. He had just lost the championship. Continue reading

The woman who was a clown…

It started with skipping dinner.

View from my hotel room in San Diego.

I was in a hotel in San Diego, a big Hilton just off of San Diego Bay. I had skipped dinner after a long day of shooting news stories for CBN. And instead of grabbing dinner out–I stayed in. This turned out to be an error. At around 9:30 my stomach told me otherwise. Thus began a spark that would end with meeting the clown lady…

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Pottery Barn and Earthquakes

***UPDATE AT BOTTOM, ADDED 2/1/2010***

I hope you’ve taken some time to look at the photos coming out of Haiti. Look into the eyes of angry and lost people. Not to be dramatic, but I think its important to acknowledge the hurting people of Haiti, mainly those in Port-au-Prince. This kind of hurt demands an international response of compassion, patience, and support. Continue reading

My Top 8 Stories In 09′

So, happy New Year. 2010. Exciting. I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot of top ten lists on the radio and TV, so I’ve decided to make my own. It’s a list of the top eight stories (had to be a little different) I’ve had the opportunity to cover over the last year.

I have to be sensitive here, because some of the stories are tragic. They were very hard to shoot. This list isn’t about most fun, or which story was happiest. The list is more about my connection with the event: what I was able to learn, what I was proud and honored to be a part of. So, without further ado… Continue reading

Courageous

Photo courtesy of Christian Post: (L to R) Stephen Kendrick, Jim McBride (Exec. Pastor), Alex Kendrick, Michael Catt (Sen. Pastor)

I talked with my mom on the phone a few days ago. She told me my last few blog entries were deep. They were well written she said, but they were very heavy. Reading back she was right, they were on the heavy side. So this post is about something lighter: a trip to a groundbreaking church in Albany, GA: Sherwood Baptist.

In 2002 someone at the church had a crazy idea:  what if the church made a movie? A movie that would involve the whole church. Something that would be fun, a learning experience, and good to show to the community. A twenty-thousand dollar budget was raised and the film was made in 2003. The result was Flywheel, which was shown at a small theater in Albany, GE for six weeks. The movie, about a used car salesman, ended up being a hit. All six weeks the theater was packed out. Blockbuster ended up picking it up for rental in its stores. The church was shocked. There was a desire for wholesome, Christian entertainment. Over the span of the next seven years Sherwood made two more movies, Facing the Giants and Fireproof.

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