UO project in Uruguay gets big nods from local media, faculty

A group of young UO journalists and their mentor Professor Carol Ann Bassett, from the UO School of Journalism and Communication, have generated buzz in local media and received a significant amount of social media kudos for their multimedia work documenting the migration of whales along the coast of Uruguay.

The project titled Route of the Whale is an interactive site that displays the route of different whale species along the coast of Uruguay and South America. The site features video footage, images and other content created by UO journalism students.

Route of the Whale was the capstone project for the inaugural 2013 Multimedia Environmental Storytelling in Uruguay program, an intensive 4-week Study Abroad course that teaches students how to create multimedia projects with a focus on environmental issues.

“The Uruguay Study Abroad Program offers hands-on immersion journalism in a foreign country—a challenging and rewarding experience in enterprise reporting, story concept and development, and documenting change through writing and multimedia production,” says Bassett.

Bassett says she enjoys creating international learning environments for her students to expose them to global diversity and self-transformation.

Route of the Whale is a project intended to raise awareness of the plight of so many whale species, most of them endangered.

“They’re an indicator species for marine and coastal biodiversity. Today, seven out of 13 species of great whales are listed as endangered or vulnerable because of commercial whaling (despite an international moratorium); ship strikes; oil and gas exploration; military sonar vessels; pollution; disease, and climate change,” explains Bassett. “But the population of Southern Atlantic right whales that migrates off Uruguay is still healthy and provides a natural laboratory for environmental and science journalists. The whale is a flagship emblem along Uruguay’s coastline.”

Due to the success of the first Multimedia Environmental Storytelling in Uruguay program, the Office of International Affairs and Study Abroad plan to continue the summer program in 2014.

To see the work of Professor Carol Ann Bassett and her students visit www.routeofthewhale.org.