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Storyhunter Staff Picks: March 2020

In just the last month, the world has been flipped on its head by the coronavirus. But even in pandemics, storytelling must go on. Hats…
Storyhunter Staff Picks: March 2020

In just the last month, the world has been flipped on its head by the coronavirus. But even in pandemics, storytelling must go on. Hats off to all freelancers who have continued to produce while COVID-19 has continued its stranglehold on our communities. Your dedication to this craft is inspiring. And to all freelancers who are simply unable to work, please continue to stay safe. But for now, take some time to watch some of the best projects done by our community in March.

Making Sri Lankan Beaches A Safe Space
QuickTake by Bloomberg
Video Journalist: Ollie Walker

QuickTake was in need of pitches from around the world relating to International Women’s Day, which was on March 7 of this year. South African video journalist Ollie Walker sent in this story about Sea Sisters, a social enterprise using surfing to empower local women and break gender norms in Sri Lanka. They offer free swim and surf lessons and have already made a significant impact in their community. He had been sitting on this pitch for a while, and was excited when he finally saw the opportunity to bring this story to the table. Ollie told us that “In Sri Lanka, particularly in rural areas, women are expected to be inside the homes. Sri Lanka needs initiatives like Sea Sisters and surfing is a wonderful medium to empower individuals.”

You can view Ollie’s profile here.

Coronavirus Outbreak: Small Businesses Fight For Survival in Seattle
QuickTake by Bloomberg
Documentary Filmmaker: Peter Bittner

This video, unlike the first one, wasn’t born out of a pitch. This time, QuickTake had the topic: how small businesses in Seattle are fairing during this pandemic. From there, it was on freelance documentary filmmaker Peter Bittner to do the research and deliver the visuals. QuickTake made one thing very clear in their exchanges with Peter, and that was that his biggest priority should always be safety. We spoke with Peter and he said that in all of his conversations with clients on Storyhunter, they all have echoed the importance of his health.

You can view Peter’s profile here.

The Secret Soviet Radar Hidden in Chernobyl’s Shadow
BBC Reel
Video Journalist: Adrian Hartrick

The secret Soviet radar hidden in Chernobyl's shadow - BBC Reel
In a remote forest, a few kilometres from the Chernobyl power plant, the huge Duga-2 radar tower stands as relic of…

BBC Reel is a frequent user of Storyhunter’s calls for pitches, and this time, Lebanon based-freelancer Adrian Hartrick came with this story about Duga-2. Duga-2 was built in the 1960s to disrupt foreign radio-frequencies, and is the only Soviet structure of it’s kind still standing. Adrian was able to secure an interview with Sergei Babakov, a historian and former Soviet and Ukrainian military Lieutenant-General who is now writing a book about the landmark. Adrian has also done work for the International Committee of the Red Cross, Al Jazeera and many more.

You can view his profile here.

Afraid of Coronavirus? Ok, But Don’t Be A Racist
Field Producer: Kateryna Gordiychuk

A hot topic during this pandemic has been an increase in stereotyping against Chinese people. AJPlus highlighted some Chinese Canadians who have seen and experienced racism since COVID-19 began to spread. They teamed up with freelance multimedia journalist Kateryna Gordiychuk to put this video together. Kateryna is a native of Montreal, Quebec and produces breaking news, feature and mini-documentary videos.

You can view her profile here.

Coronavirus Outbreak: California’s Shelters, Homeless People Are At High Risk
TRT World News
Reporter/Journalist: Duncan McKenzie-McHarg

TRT World News was in need of an On-Air Talent/Journalist in Los Angeles, California to produce this short news exclusive about California’s homeless population, and what help they need to be prepared to face the coronavirus. For the sixteenth time, they hired Duncan McKenzie-McHarg, a news and sports journalist who is based in LA, but has experience working all over North America. TRT created a private posting on Storyhunter, which means that they posted it specifically with Duncan in mind.

You can view Duncan’s profile here.

Russian Teacher’s Beatbox Lessons Help Chinese Teen Realise Dream of Becoming a ‘Human Drum Machine’
South China Morning Post
Director/Filmmaker: Gleb Torubarov

This is the second month in a row that South China Morning Post has had one of their projects selected to the Staff Picks. They needed a freelancer to conceptualize, produce and edit a video that could fit into their family of short documentaries. Shanghai-based director/filmmaker Gleb Torubarov pitched this story about how the emergence of beatboxing in China has brought people together.

You can view his profile here.

By Head of Stories Jake Watkins