Diane Guerrazzi, a broadcast journalism professor at San Jose State University in the College of Applied Sciences and Arts’ School of Journalism and Mass Communications, has received the Mixed Video Award of Excellence from the Broadcast Education Association in the faculty category.
Guerrazzi and Hannah Gaber’s short documentary, “Opening Oman,” was recognized along with 11 other pieces nationwide in the BEA 2015 Festival of Media Arts competition. Prizes will be awarded during the BEA’s annual convention and Festival of Media Arts in April in Las Vegas.
The 12-minute video can be viewed online.
In the video, Guerrazzi, sets up a narrative about the ways in which the Middle Eastern country that is bordered by Saudia Arabia, Yemn and United Arab Emirates is looking to open itself to international tourism.
A narrator describes some of the efforts that Oman’s government has taken in the last two decades to open its borders up to tourism, such as open a tourism college and creating a bacherlor’s in tourism. But the country is still focused on striking a balance of drawing in visitors without losing its traditions.
“In Oman, we have this kind of idea that we really want to develop tourism but not offer it too widely so we lose identify and core traditions – history itself,” said Hooda Albalushi, a tourism lecturer at Sultan Qaboos University, in one of the interviews in the video. “We want to try to open up to the outside world, but keep up traditions and whatever makes us unique.”
According to the video, Oman has seen less than 2 million visitors in any one year, while Dubai in neighboring United Arab Emirates has seen as many as 10 million in a year. But tourism faculty say the country is focused on bringing in quality tourists instead of a high quantity, as it is one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the world.
Guerrazzi started the work on the documentary during winter session in 2013, when she collaborated with a professor from the University of Arizona, Maggy Zanger, who had contacts in Oman to take students abroad.
“She (Zanger) suggested the tourism angle, since Oman is truly at a crossroads with its approach to the outside world,” Guerrazzi said, via email. “Some of our students were journalism majors, but others were studying political science, tourism and behavioral sciences so the tourism topic was interesting to all.”
The study abroad program included four students from SJSU, one from Gavilan Community College, one from CSU East Bay, three from University of Arizona, one from the University of Oregon, one from the University of Delaware and one from the University of Arkansas.
“Students helped shoot some video and conduct some interviews,” Guerrazzi said, noting that Gaber, a graduate student from Arizona was especially interested in helping with the project. “She transcribed some interviews and contributed ideas.”
Guerrazzi said she was the primary person to shoot the video as well as the person who wrote the narrative and edited the piece. She worked on it throughout spring and summer 2014, even working on it while she was on vacation in Japan.
“To develop the story with a dramatic art, I needed to mold the piece as I created it,” she said. “It’s much different than writing a regular news story.”
Guerrazzi, who is also the director of the SJSU Afghanistan Journalism Education Enhancement Program, said documentary is a new field for her as she has worked in short-form broadcast for daily news for 30 years.
“I am encouraged to try another documentary, perhaps with another faculty-led program,” she said. “This time, it would be great to scout out locations and characters ahead of time.”
Guerrazzi and Halima Kazem, a colleague in JMC, are offering a four-week faculty-led program this summer in Turkey in which students will learn what it is like to be an international journalist and navigate the world working on various multimedia news stories.
The course still has openings for interested students who will work in small teams to develop a short documentary, a photo essay, a travel blog or any other multimedia product by the end of the course. The students will visit Turkish media organizations and collaborate with Turkish university students on their projects. A multimedia bootcamp will be offered before students depart for Istanbul and faculty will work with students to develop their projects. This is a great opportunity to cover an international issue, generate portfolio clips and make contacts abroad.
The three-weeks trip will include visits to Turkish media organizations such as Today’s Zaman, CNN Turk, Daily Hurriyet and Daily Sabah; visits to journalism departments at two Turkish universities; a tour of Istanbul’s landmarks and world heritage sites; a lecture on Turkish cuisine and café culture; guided walking tours and more.
For more on Guerrazzi and Kazem’s program, visit the CASA International Experience Initiative website.