New York Times’ Website Highlights Videocast By Knight International Journalism Fellow Trainees

Jun 272008

A videocast about Palestinians forced to flee fighting in a Lebanese refugee camp, produced by Knight International Journalism trainees, was featured July 26 on The New York Times’ website.

The report by Farah Fayed, a Lebanese journalist, and David Munir Nabti, a Lebanese-American graduate student at the American University of Beirut–with assistance from Knight International Journalism Fellow Craig Duff–was prominently displayed on the prestigious daily’s homepage.

Duff, who has been in the region for the past nine months, was on a Fellowship designed to introduce long-form documentaries to Egyptian and Lebanese journalists on subjects rarely covered in the local media. He launched a film festival in Egypt that showcased the work of local journalists and attracted a standing-room-only crowd. Satellite network Orbit TV then decided to air some of the documentaries to a much wider audience throughout the region.

Duff has helped develop a cadre of journalists capable of producing high-impact documentaries on subjects ranging from an expose on the grim conditions in an Egyptian hospital to the policy implications of Iraqi refugees living in Cairo to the Lebanese journalists’ profiles of refugees in their war-torn country.

Nabti and Fayed visited the Beddawi Palestinian refugee camp to interview people who fled the fighting in the Nahr el-Bared camp, about 10 miles away in northern Lebanon. Duff helped the team rework their script, edit and polish the piece, and submit it to the Times.

Headlined “The Refugees of Nahr el-Bared: Stress takes its toll”, the documentary shows how the conflict between Lebanese government forces and militants who took over the refugee camp has displaced Palestinians--people living in limbo in Lebanon since they left Israel decades ago. The video journalists capture the faces and voices of older camp residents going through another displacement and younger Palestinians for whom the besieged and battle-scarred camp is the only home they have known.

“It's a very moving story, a tragedy really,” writes Duff, “and quite well done.”