On Assignment

Digital TV and the World
These stories were produced by students in the "Digital TV and the World" special project at the Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley. According to project director Todd Carrel, the graduate students travel the world to "find interesting stories that help reveal the fabric of a community." The series began in August 2002 with stories about ordinary people from around the world--from a fishing village in Nagasaki, Japan to the rainforests of Peru.

Chris Raphael/Jason Felch, Graduate School of Journalism, University of California, Berkeley

The Digital TV and the World special project is supported by gifts from the Walter and Elise Haas fund, the broadcast and professional systems division of Sony Electronics, Inc., Apple, and the Graduate School of Journalism. Additional support for the Peru projects was provided by the Center for Latin American Studies at University of California, Berkeley.

Pipeline Problems: Shimaa, Peru by Jason Felch and Chris Raphael: The Camisea pipeline has made life difficult for many of the Machiguenga villages in its path. In one community, villagers have blamed the pipeline for scaring away the animals they used to hunt, landslides, and contaminated water. 

High Hopes: Segakiato, Peru by Jason Felch and Chris Raphael:  In Segakiato, the Camisea gas project has created both hope and skepticism. One young villager, Wilfredo, who works for the project, buys radios and new clothes with his company paycheck. But Wilfredo's grandmother, a traditional Machiguenga woman, is worried about the changes she sees in her grandson and in her community. 

Frenchy's Gotta Go by Chris O'Connell:  Like thousands of other international high tech migrants, Guillame Gravile lost his H1B visa status after the collapse of the Internet bubble. Known affectionately by his American friends as "Frenchy," Gravile is unable to find a company that will hire him and sponsor him for a new visa and must return to France.  

The Go-To Girl by Susan Latham:  In the last twenty years more than 20,000 refugees have emigrated from Southeast Asia to Oakland, California. Today, many of these first generation immigrants are living on the fringe of society, partially because they lack language skills, but also because it's been so hard for them to adjust to life in America. Nguyen Tran, a 36 year-old social worker, has dedicated her life to helping refugees.  May, 2003

Paper Families by Rosa Yum:  Artist Flo Oy Wong grew up with two families: a real one and a "paper family," an elaborate deception constructed to elude U.S. immigration restrictions of the early 1900s. Like thousands of Chinese-Americans, Wong lived in constant fear of discovery and deportation. Now, in her art, she explores the culture of shame and subterfuge that permeated Chinatown then and still influences the community today.  February, 2003

From Bucharest to Berkeley by Scott Squire:  At the age of two, Ana Maria Dragin was abandoned on the streets of Bucharest, Romania. She would likely have ended up languishing in an orphanage, had she not been taken in by a kindly family stretching their means to care for her, and then later adopted by Berkeley psychologist Nadine Payn. 

On Their Own by Mielikki Org:  Parachute kids are Taiwanese kids growing up in the United States whose parents (one or both) have decided to stay in Taiwan to do business. A 1990 UCLA study estimated that there were 40,000 Taiwanese parachute kids ages 8 to 18 living in the United States. This video focuses on two parachute kids living in San Jose, CA--teenagers with access to large amounts of cash and relatively little adult supervision.  June, 2003

It's Not Gonna Happen by Wang Feng:  Members of the Korean American community in the San Francisco Bay Area express their concerns for the political and military tensions between the United States and North Korea, and the possible impact on their lives. 

SARS AND Chinatown Business by Casey McKinney: Following a barrage of media attention on the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong and parts of Asia, predominantly Asian communities in the United States suffered economically from consumer fear and misunderstanding about the local threat of the disease. In San Franisco's Chinatown, tour guide Shirley Fong-Torres and others relate their business woes. 

An American Kurd by Steven Fyffe:  Hamid Ali Sayadi, a Kurd born in Northern Iraq, now is an American living in Fremont, Calif. Sayadi was a mechanic in the Iraqi airforce before he fled to America in 1977 to escape Saddam Hussein's regime. In California, he has worked for 13 years at New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors.  February, 2003