After hours of editing and collaboration, not to mention multiple trips to Cordova, Alaska, University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (SOJC) students involved in the SOJC Science and Memory Program produced “Will You Change?”, a multimedia piece promoting awareness of global climate change.
Fortunately, all the work was well worth it. The students ended up with a powerful video furthering a cause they care about, and it was so good that it was nominated to the shortlist at the One Screen Film Festival.
SOJC students Spencer Orofino and Evan Norton traveled to New York in February to attend the festival. Although “Will You Change?” didn’t win, both students said it was exciting and humbling simply to be there.
“Being nominated was definitely an honor, and it was incredible to be in a room with that many talented people,” said Norton.
The video was recognized not only for its content, but also for its innovative multimedia storytelling techniques. “A lot of why our film was there was because of the work that we were doing and the creative concept behind it,” Norton explained. “It was a collaborative effort on behalf of our whole team.”
The SOJC Science and Memory Program strives to to tell the story of climate change in a different way. Students who participate are challenged to use their journalistic skills to get people to care about earth’s changing ecological systems. “Everyone is tired of hearing the world is about to end, so you have to come at it with a different point of view,” said Norton.
Orofino says it can often be difficult to get the message across. “There’s so much data and research, but its buried in 100-page dissertations that no one takes the time to read,” Orofino explained. “The story lies within the people, and our project is based around finding the story and then bringing in the data behind it. We marry the two to have a final product that is engaging but still useful in making an impact on this issue.”
It took a group of diverse and talented students who were committed to the cause to take on the challenge of climate-change reporting.
“The most important thing about the Science and Memory Program is that everyone is really good at what they do,” said Norton. “Everyone was so self-motivated, and that helped to get a great end product.”
The students involved with the project say that, rather than recognition, the need to address climate change was the driving force behind this project. Norton explained that everyone on the project has a personal interest in the issue.
“We were not working to get our film into film festivals,” said Orofino. “It’s awesome that it happened, but that was not the end goal. The end goal was always to make a statement about this issue and make a project we were proud of.”
For the students working on the Science and Memory program — which endeavors to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that allows students to explore their passions and further their skills — that goal has been achieved.
“Jobs and internships will always be there, but the chance to make a statement about climate change like we did is so unique.” said Orofino. “If you have the opportunity to do something like this, you should take it.”
Story by Nicole Rideout ’16