First, I am pleased and honored to announce that I won the first round of Project Report. Yes, I’m one of the ten semi-finalists!
And for the 2nd Round, the Grand Finals, the assignment is to cover something that the mainstream media has not covered yet, or often overlooked. No doubt I know the kids in Oakland are always overlooked. Sure, I would see and hear their stories in the news, but it was never in-depth, especially recently, when three Oakland high schools are being threatened to shut down because of low test scores and high drop out rates. In fact those three schools ranked some of the lowest performing in the state. I thought to myself, no one has really asked what’s behind those poor results.
Finding the right topic came easy, but finding the right people to be in it, is probably the most challenging endeavor I have ever done. Understandably, the topic is complicated and senstive, so parents, educators and social workers would be over protective of their youth. But damn, it was really hard to get somebody, especially a youth, and without a youth, there’s no story because it’s about them. I was almost ready to give up and ready to find another topic, but I decided to stay persistent.
The easiest person to approach was a volunteer teacher in East Oakland, but aside from that, I had to scout and pay my dues. I was at the mercy of my subjects and potential subjects. Some of them would entertain the idea of being interviewed, and the next thing you know, they’ll pull out, the last minute. Then there were those you thought would never call back and would go for it, yes, the last minute. It was like a rollercoaster ride, one day I was beaming with excited, the next heartbroken, then excited again.
Richgail is a video journalist.
She arrived in the US, from the Philippines, when she was 15 years old.
During her early years in the US, she discovered her passion for public service and broadcasting. After graduating with a degree in Masscommunication at Cal-State Hayward (now CSUEB), she became a news correspondent for The Filipino Channel, in a half hour newscast called “Balitang America”. In 2007, she moved to Bend, Oregon to be a news producer for the television station, KTVZ.
Richgail is back in the Bay Area, and is currently a video journalist for the website, www.bbn3.com/sanfrancisco (formerly SFIam)
Richgail reported on a range of topics including the 2005 hotel workers’ strike in San Francisco, the controversial debate over California’s Proposition 8, and a profile on a Bay Area activist who helped break the siege of the Gaza Strip in 2008.
During her free time, Richgail supports and participates in theatre groups such as the Fob Troupe and the Bindlestiff organization in San Francisco. She also loves to cook and hike along nature parks and trails.
If you have any story ideas you would like to share or see in her works, please feel free to leave a comment on this blog.
A five minute video piece on youth and violence in Oakland.