In partnership with the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (DDFIA), Northeastern University faculty member Jody Santos, Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Arts, Media and Design’s School of Journalism, will be working on a project at the intersection of COVID-19 and digital storytelling with graduate students in the Media Advocacy program. The grant, which will support a full-time graduate assistant and faculty to participate, is awarded to ReThink Media, a DC-based nonprofit communications agency. It will support Santos’s work bringing her students together with both a public television series (Visionaries PBS series) and ReThink Media to redefine digital storytelling in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Together, they will embark on a three-month pilot program called Taking Back the Narrative in which U.S.-based Muslim groups and their non-Muslim allies will be professionally trained – by producers from the Visionaries and faculty from the School of Journalism – on using digital storytelling to combat hate crimes and anti-Muslim prejudice in America.
Each of the five participating groups will receive a storytelling kit – camera, lights, microphone, etc. – that can be monitored remotely so that feedback can be given in real time. They also will be paired with Media Advocacy graduate students, who will help strategize on ways to tell and disseminate the stories captured and also will edit the final videos. The project will culminate in a documentary airing on the Visionaries, hosted by actor Sam Waterston.
Jody Santos joins the CAMD community with experience teaching – before Northeastern, at Springfield College – and working in the field. A human rights filmmaker, she has traveled around the world, documenting everything from the trafficking of girls in Nepal to the widespread and often abusive practice of institutionalizing children with disabilities in the U.S. and abroad. Her documentaries have appeared on public television and cable networks like Discovery Channel, and her work also has been featured on New England Public Radio and in publications like Mad in America. Regardless of the medium, Santos’s goal is to amplify all voices and to shed light on those narratives that are usually unseen or underreported.
She earned her master’s degree from Northeastern, where she received the James Ragsdale award as a student dedicated to First Amendment rights. She is also the recipient of American Women in Radio & Television’s Gracie Allen Award, and was nominated for an Emmy for a special report on black-market guns airing on NBC Boston. Prior to working in television, Santos was a staff writer and news editor for the Providence, RI, edition of The Boston Phoenix, where she received numerous awards from the New England and Rhode Island press associations.
Please join us in congratulating Santos and welcoming her to the CAMD community!