My Entry into Video Journalism in Cuba

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES— When a friend of mine, journalist Ignacio Gonzalez, approached me and invited me to host a press channel he planned on launching, the first thing I thought was that the job was not for me. According to his proposal, my duties within the project – which was to be discrete, at first, though ambitious in its goals – would be hosting a kind of news program that would bear the name of the agency, En Caliente Prensa Libre (“Hot Off the Press News”)

Until that time, I had only dabbled in journalism (a field in which I have always considered myself an outsider, an apprentice) in Havana Times, writing diary entries and the Musical Bridge section. Going on camera and doing everything video-journalism demands struck me as another ballpark altogether.

But we did our first coverage nonetheless: a tribute to Cuban teachers. We set out to make it clear that we were paying tribute, not to the Ministry of Education and its entities, but to the people who make huge sacrifices, day in and day out, to do their jobs as well possible, overcoming the many difficulties that living in a country like ours entails.

Looking at the results – a video that went mostly unnoticed – I not only felt proud of my work, I also proved to myself that, sometimes, we can do those things we think are impossible.

If memory serves me right, the video was first shown in October of last year. Since then, I have made over a dozen videos next to Ignacio. He directs and does the camera, alternating with a friend called Yasset Gurry, manages the videos on the Internet and edits (with my help). In addition to hosting the shows, I write the scripts.

We have the most basic resources for this: a camera, a microphone and a pair of headphones. Till now, we have covered the costs of logistics ourselves, and we aren’t sorry about this. Our aim is to divulge news that Cuba’s official media do not cover. That the truth reach Cuba’s interior and countries abroad without any kind of manipulation.

We are as interested in what the Right has to say as what the Left may opine. We have reflected the opinions of the population without mincing our words, with a clarity that is evident in our work. We are not the spokespeople of any institution, organization or person.

Para que todo el que lo desee acceda fácilmente a nuestros videos, los colgamos en la plataforma YouTube.

So that they may be easily accessed, we have uploaded our videos to YouTube

[Editor’s Note: More than 95 percent of Cubans on the island do not have ready access to YouTube. However, the makers of the videos will be distributing them via discs and memory sticks.]

osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.



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