Duane Noriyuki, a former LA Times reporter, explained to a room of around 30 New Media Communications students at Oregon State University that their future job working in media was to be like the rain.
“The rain does not choose who it falls on, it falls on everyone equally. Your job working in media is to be like the rain and treat everyone the same regardless of their demographic” he said.
He reasoned that members of the media have assigned themselves the roll of being the mouthpiece for all people, regardless of their race, age, sex, religion, or any other distinguishing factor. Media professionals have the extensive job of being a voice to the voiceless and unheard people around the globe, and specifically, to oppressed minorities.
This is the goal of most media outlets today, but many new independent collectives are going far beyond the basic feature story. Their method is to tell stories of those that are afflicted by atrocities around the globe, in an artistic and visually engaging way. This artistic perspective expresses the emotion and depth of these injustices, and gives the viewer a deeper, more personal connection with the topic.
iEmpathize is one of these organizations that is “acting like the rain” and crying out for the unheard minorities around the globe. Their mission according to their website is to create immersive exhibits and engage the reality of the issues they are dealing with. They use a variety of mediums including film, photography, and artifacts to immerse the viewer in the reality of what they are witnessing. This style requires a personal connection between the story teller and subject, and this connection is evident in the work of iEmpathize.
They are currently focusing most of their energy on producing content that encourages its audience to be active in helping end the sex trade. They are working in areas such as Thailand, Cambodia, Russia, and Mexico. The content iEmpathize produces is powerful, and does an amazing job of relaying the stories of the thousands of boys and girls that have been affected by the illegal sex trade. It is clear from their work, that they are willing to tell the stories that are hard to hear and equally hard to tell. Just as the rain, they distinguish between no one, but willingly share the stories of the unheard to anyone that will listen.
Embedded within this post are a couple striking examples of the film work iEmpathize has done to raise awareness about the sex trade.