Every spring, I teach a course titled Documentary Photography and, the lest few iterations, I’ve felt a little funny with that name. It’s now about half photography and half video storytelling, because that’s what my kids need.

Depending on which conference you head to and what pundit has tweeted most recently, you either believe in video our you don’t. There aren’t many journalists who are ambivalent about it anymore.

Me, I’m a believer.

I teach the nat sound model, one where we don’t script it, we don’t have our voices in it, we let characters tell their own story. Those are the pieces I love to watch.

Every now and then, though, a piece gets done that floors me, a story that doesn’t fit my ideal. The Newark Star-Ledger has one of those up right now. It’s big, at 22 minutes you need to invest in it, something a lot of folks may not be willing to do. But if you care about journalism, if you care about connecting, then you have to watch Splinters & Sand.

You just have to.

Journalists Brian Donohue, Bumper DeJesus, Andre Malok and Seth Siditsky have come together to produce an emotional piece of, well, advocacy journalism on why the Jersey Shore needs to be rebuilt.

I have never been to any of the places they report on, but I have felt them all. You will too.

Mark E. Johnson

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