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Interview with American Journalism Review: “Sometimes, you’ve just got to get in there”

“By pairing investigative journalists with documentary filmmakers, “post-print” startup Stateless Media is discovering and sharing complex stories through video that used to be told exclusively through print outlets. Savodnik, Perkins and filmmaker Kannan Arunasalam — the core three involved in Stateless Media right now — work remotely. Arunasalam said filmmakers are usually responsible for the story as well as the filming, and he appreciates that he can concentrate on only the visual aspects of Stateless Media projects. “It’s such a benefit for a filmmaker to know that [the reporting] is rigorous and rounded,” Arunasalam said. “You have this luxury of being able to anticipate how the story’s going to unfold.” On the other hand, the stories and even the experience of shooting the films are meant to be unpredictable. While Nasser Shaikh was in the Sri Lankan hotel where his brother was killed, for instance, his microphone was disconnected. Having lived in Sri Lanka for many years, Arunasalam knew they could be “thrown out or worse” if they were caught with cameras there, so they had to pretend to be tourists while they fixed the setup in the bathroom. “That [experience] has definitely given me a lot to think about in future stories and where I will and won’t go in the future — not just country things but difficult and possibly dangerous places,” Arunasalam said. “Sometimes, you’ve just got to get in there.” ‘Pushing the Boundaries of Storytelling through the Shortreal’, Mary Clare Fisher, Interview with American Journalism Review, 2 January 2014

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