Stephanie Hanes and Stephen Sapienza, for the Pulitzer Center
We realized that non-journalists might not have a good sense of what Steve and I are actually doing each day. Here's the basic picture: It's hot and we're pretty gross. He is carrying the video camera, the tripod and a backpack filled with fun-looking gear like lenses, wireless mics, and a light reflector. I am just carrying my backpack, notebook and a pen – it's much easier being the reporter.
In the morning, we talk about what we are going to do – what sort of interviews and pictures we need to keep building this story – and then we go out and try to find those puzzle pieces. Sometimes we need help. Today, for instance, we hired a translator who could help us talk to some of the people living around the park, who speak either Portuguese or Sena. He was great – a good translator can make a world of difference when you're reporting.
So we went out (did we mention it was hot?) and chatted with a woman who works in the park's kitchen, and then with a man who was a soldier in the civil war and is now a ranger. They live in this small little village of run-down bungalows right near the main tourist camp. We wanted to hear how Greg Carr's project is impacting their lives. We also talked with some workers who are de-mining swaths of the park – during the war, both sides planted landmines.
When we work, I ask most of the questions, but Steve often pitches in. It's a good system, because we'll often think of different questions. Steve also goes around getting B-roll, or raw footage – all those non-interview pictures and images you see when you're watching a television show or documentary. (Check it out sometime – there are tons of different images every minute.)
At the end of the day, we went on a safari. We saw almost no animals. This is because they were all killed in the war. The group here is working to restore this environment, but it's going to be a huge challenge.