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I directed and produced this silly short film a couple of years ago. It was an intense few weeks, but was well worth it: we ended up winning the Best of the Fest and Viewer’s Choice awards at the Fokus Film Festival, in Montreal.

I watch it now and again for a good laugh, so I thought that I would post it here for your entertainment. Enjoy! Starring and written by the wonderful and talented Katie Burrell.

In Liberia, cheap technology and relative political stability have spawned a generation of rappers and producers. Disenfranchised men who may have otherwise picked up a gun are now picking up a mic instead. Jake Heller reports on how hip-hop is giving a voice to Liberia’s ostracized youth.

I’m reporting on the Liberian community for a class called RW1; it’s the central component of Columbia’s journalism education, and most of the work I’ll be posting here over the next few months will come from that class.

Our assignment over the long weekend is something called a ‘beat note.’ A ‘beat’ is an area or topic that a journalist covers. So a ‘beat note’ is an overview of your beat, designed to tell your editor (or professor in my case) what he or she needs to know about your subject, what stories you’re thinking of writing, and who some of your sources are.

I’ve accordingly been doing some research on Liberians, and just came across this awesome video of a Liberian hip-pop anthem. (Yes, I just invented a new musical genre, hip-pop.) Enjoy!

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