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From news@Northeastern, November 28, 2016 by Greg St. Martin

Giulia Afiune’s jour­nalism career has already come full circle.

Before arriving at North­eastern, Afiune worked for Agência Pública, an inves­tiga­tive jour­nalism agency in her native Brazil that focuses on human rights issues. She reported there for about two years, part of which coin­cided with earning her bachelor’s degree in jour­nalism from Cásper Líbero Col­lege in São Paulo. But eager to become a more dig­i­tally fluent sto­ry­teller, Afiune enrolled as a grad­uate stu­dent in Northeastern’s Media Inno­va­tion pro­gram in fall 2015.

This past summer, Afiune, MA’17, returned to Brazil to free­lance for Agência Pública, where she spent two months on an inves­tiga­tive team exam­ining the fallout from Brazil­ians being evicted from their homes due to con­struc­tion for the Rio Olympics. For “Project 100,” Afiune and other jour­nal­ists inter­viewed 100 fam­i­lies about their har­rowing experiences.

This fall, Agência Pública’s reporting earned a Vladimir Herzog Award, a prize that rec­og­nizes jour­nalism that denounces human rights vio­la­tions and pro­motes democ­racy. The mul­ti­media project won in the “Internet” category.

For Afiune, it was an emo­tional moment, a pow­erful example of journalism’s impor­tance, and an affir­ma­tion of her career choice. “It was so exciting,” she said, “and it was an indi­ca­tion to me that I’m on the right track. This expe­ri­ence showed me that this type of jour­nalism that I love to do—investigative, mul­ti­media, and con­cerning human rights—is also the type of jour­nalism that the public and the jour­nalism com­mu­nity value.”

Another inter­esting twist: Afiune’s first jour­nalism intern­ship was as a reporter for OBORÉ, a com­pany that orga­nizes com­mu­ni­ca­tion projects, from jour­nalism work­shops for stu­dents, to movie ses­sions and com­mu­nity engage­ment forums to dis­cuss social issues. The com­pany also helps orga­nize the Vladimir Herzog Award, and she cov­ered the 2012 award cer­e­monies. At the time, she never thought the script would be flipped—that others would one day be reporting on her work being rec­og­nized with one of those awards. But on Oct. 25, there she was, award in hand, with col­leagues, family, and friends by her side to celebrate.

Giulia Afiune, MA'17, holds the Vladimir Herzog Award recognizing a multimedia journalism project she contributed to that told the stories of families evicted due to Rio Olympics construction. Photo courtesy of Giulia Afiune

Giulia Afiune, MA’17, holds the Vladimir Herzog Award rec­og­nizing a mul­ti­media jour­nalism project she con­tributed to that told the sto­ries of fam­i­lies evicted due to Rio Olympics con­struc­tion. Photo cour­tesy of Giulia Afiune

‘Project 100’

Some 2,600 families—around 10,000 people—were forced to leave their homes due to Rio Olympics con­struc­tion, according to an inde­pen­dent report pro­duced by a com­mu­nity rights net­work of researchers, stu­dents, workers, and res­i­dents. Afiune arrived partway through “Project 100” and inter­viewed 16 families.

In most cases, fam­i­lies said they had no choice but to leave,” Afiune wrote in a story for Public Radio Inter­na­tional, in which she focused on Maria da Con­ce­icao Queiroz da Silva, a 41- year- old babysitter who lived in Rio de Janeiro’s Vila Auto­dromo com­mu­nity for 19 years. “They fret about ending up on the streets if they don’t accept one of the government’s offers: rent assis­tance, indem­nity or an apart­ment in a fed­eral housing project, some­times up to 25 miles away from their orig­inal neigh­bor­hood. All around the city, com­mu­nity ties were broken and the inter­ac­tion with neigh­bors and family was hampered.”

“This expe­ri­ence showed me that this type of jour­nalism that I love to do—investigative, mul­ti­media, and con­cerning human rights—is also the type of jour­nalism that the public and the jour­nalism com­mu­nity value.”
—Giulia Afiune

Afiune said the work under­scored the value of mul­ti­media jour­nalism, an increas­ingly impor­tant field in the dig­ital era and an emphasis of Northeastern’s Media Inno­va­tion pro­gram, where she’s cur­rently honing her mul­ti­media and data jour­nalism skills.

Her pri­mary respon­si­bil­i­ties for “Project 100” mostly involved researching, pro­ducing, inter­viewing, and cap­turing and editing video and audio on reporting. She said the expe­ri­ence strength­ened her dig­ital jour­nalism acumen and left her eager to return to the class­room to con­tinue sharp­ening those skills.

As our class is maturing and becoming closer, we’re get­ting more chances to work together and see the pos­si­bil­i­ties of where we can go as a team,” she said.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University, Giulia Afune, MA’17, is a graduate student in the Media Innovation program in Northeatern’s School of Journalism.