Bus 19: The Way Up | The Boston Globe

I had the privilege of working on this story for The Boston Globe with writer Billy Baker and photographer Yoon S. Byun. These kids are amazing. They’ve had every obstacle thrown in their path — poverty, familial language barriers, abuse, their father’s suicide, living in a rough neighborhood, and much more than you could ever imagine — and yet they are top students at one of the best exam high schools in Boston.

Please, take some time to watch this video and then go read the article to go more in depth. The boys, their family, their mentor and their teen center have received an outpouring of support from the school, friends, and strangers. It’s an amazing experience as a journalist to see a story make such an impact…

This is my family.

A couple of my friends who got married recently had one of those endlessly fun photobooth studios at their reception. Of course, it yielded this, the best family portrait ever…

L-R: Nadine (my brother’s girlfriend), my brother Charlie, my mother Jane, me, and my dad Charlie.

Occupy Boston dismantled by police – December 10, 2011

(Please read this thorough and accurate article about the raid of Occupy Boston from The Boston Globe. The following is just my account of it and I was doing some serious multitasking, shooting mobile videos, plus pictures and b-roll. All images © Copyright 2011 by Lauren Frohne and/or The Boston Globe, please do not reproduce these images without permission.)

After Occupy Boston lost a court hearing on Wednesday that removed the temporary restraining order barring their eviction, the Mayor strongly urged the protestors to leave Dewey Square. On Thursday morning, December 8, the city issued a mandate that all occupiers leave the park, which is part of the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Boston’s financial district, by midnight.

The movement’s newest slogan was emblazoned on the wall of a building adjacent to Dewey Square around 10 p.m. Thursday.

Instead, thousands of supporters showed up. When the police announced just before 3 a.m. on Friday morning that they would not clear the park, the crowd swelled into Atlantic Avenue shutting down the street. The protestors even moved tents and lawn chairs into the street. Eventually, around 3:30 a.m., two protestors were arrested for refusing to move their tent (with them in it) out of the street.

As midnight approached, a protestor held his ground in the park.

Protestors took over Atlantic Avenue in downtown Boston early Friday morning.

Throughout the day on Friday, protestors and supporters trickled from the park, and by early Saturday morning only approximately 75 remained, despite reports that police would clear the park in the early morning hours. A few exhausted protestors were even seen holding signs asking to just be evicted already.

At exactly 5 a.m., police vans arrived swiftly and the park was soon surrounded by 250 Boston Police officers. They were not dressed in riot gear, and they began to quickly dismantle the remaining tents and structures in the park. Afterward, around 5:45 a.m. Saturday, the remaining protestors were arrested in the park without violence. Few images of the arrests exist because police pushed all the credentialed media into a small space on the sidewalk, threatening arrest to anyone who moved from the area, and blocked the view of what was going in the park with police vans and about two dozen officers.

Within a half hour, police had cleared most of the tents from the park and piled the refuse onto the sidewalk, ready to be placed in garbage trucks waiting at the curb on Atlantic Ave.

A small group of approximately 40 protestors waited to be arrested as police pushed media back to the sidewalk and later obstructed the media’s view with police vehicles and officers.

A sign at an entrance to the park remained as police began to arrest protestors and police officers filled the newly emptied park.

After clearing the park, police moved protestors, and media alike, away from the park to the sidewalk in front of South Station and remained in formation for several hours.

The remaining protestors taunted police, asking them why they became police officers and how they sleep at night. Some officers responded but did not engage the protestors.

It was a long couple of days for everyone at Occupy Boston — protestors, media and police. By the time police arrived, it seemed that many of the protestors were relieved that the eviction was finally happening and were ready to be either arrested peacefully or to the leave the park willingly. And although it was sad and frustrating (and maybe infuriating) for some of the occupiers, many seemed ready to move on to the next phase of their movement — whatever that may be.

Media, protestors and police stayed through the morning and the “re-beautification” of Dewey Square began swiftly after garbage and other refuse was removed from the park.

My final picture, taken (with Instagram) from the 12th floor of the Intercontinental Hotel on Atlantic Ave. at around 7:30 a.m.

If you have time, check out some of our Boston Globe videos from the past couple of days at Occupy Boston, including this:

Whitey Bulger: In Plain Sight

The Globe has been covering Whitey Bulger for more than a decade — from his time as a petty criminal in the Southie projects to the discovery of his role as an FBI informant and alleged murderer, charged with 19 murders, and beyond.

When he was caught in Santa Monica after 16 years on the run in June, Globe reporters Shelley Murphy and Maria Cramer began the gruesome task of piecing together what his life with his girlfriend Catherine Greig was like through the years. Three photographers shot video along the way, many people were interviewed, and lots of b-roll was gathered.

At the beginning of October, I was given all of this content in order to make a video story with it. I interviewed the reporters in a documentary style, transcribed everything, built a script, and eventually came out with this:

A hefty undertaking, but with the inspiration of hundreds of documentaries that address events and people in the past, I’m stoked with how it came out.

Occupy Wall Street NYC | Oct. 15, 2011

I made my way down to Occupy Wall Street this past Saturday. They were participating in a day of worldwide action protesting the state of the global economic system, and marched from Wall Street to Washington Square Park.

Later that night, I watched the General Assembly debate the possibility of expanding their occupation to Washington Square. It was pretty incredible to watch thousands of people have a rational conversation — using the people’s microphone — about the costs and benefits of staying in the park after it closed at midnight. Police had already begun to gather and threatened the arrest of anyone who stayed past close. Some people gave good reasons for beginning the expanded occupation, despite the possibility of arrest, while other believed they didn’t have the numbers on that particular night. At around 11:45 P.M. the assembly decided to table the discussion for the next day and left the park peacefully. I guess that’s what they call ‘direct democracy’.

I think what struck me the most was the diversity — racial, ethnic, age, socio-economic, gender, everything. Like a seemingly grungy young kid in a tie-dyed tank top linked arms with a mother pushing a stroller. It was incredible.

Here are some pictures from the march:

The evening’s General Assembly in the drained fountain in Washington Square Park.

Multitasking in Brockton

A couple of weeks ago, I was sent out to Brockton, Mass., to shoot the installation of photographer Mary Beth Meehan‘s work from her project “City of Champions.” The project looks deeply into the character of Brockton — where Meehan grew up — which has changed drastically in the past 20 years from a suburban haven to a town plagued by drugs, crime, and unemployment.

Her images have been blown up and printed on banners — some of which are up to 20-feet wide — and hung on buildings in downtown Brockton. It was a cool sight to see the installation, and the images are intricate and thoughtful.

And, I had to pull double-duty on the shoot: pictures for the print paper and a video for bostonglobe.com.

The Boston Globe: A place of peace – 10 Years After 9/11

Andrea LeBlanc, the widow of a 9/11 victim, believes that revenge is not the answer. The first in The Boston Globe’s 8-part series on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Camera, interview and editing by Lauren Frohne/Globe Staff.

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Below are a couple more videos I edited for The Boston Globe’s 9/11 anniversary package:

For many young Americans, the 9/11 terrorist attacks sparked a desire to serve their country. Video by David Filipov/Globe Staff and Shawn Baldwin for The Boston Globe; Edited by Lauren Frohne/Globe Staff.

10 years later, Globe reporter David Filipov, who lost his father in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, returns to Afghanistan. The second in The Boston Globe’s 8-part series on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Video by David Filipov/Globe Staff and Shawn Baldwin for The Globe; Graphics by Patrick Garvin & Javier Zarracine, Globe Staff; Edited by Lauren Frohne/Globe Staff

10 years later…

September 11th has a special meaning to Boston because two of those fatal flights left from Boston Logan Airport. Personally, before moving here and working at the Globe, I didn’t give much thought to that because of my own personal ties to New York City. We have some really compelling stories in the works from people who have experienced a lot of change or who have never told their story before.

In the meanwhile, we’ve been running other related stories leading up to our big 9/11 package that runs for 8 days beginning next Sunday, Sept. 4.

This story, which was shot by staff photographer Joanne Rathe (while also shooting beautiful stills) and I edited, offers a look into America’s Camp, a youth summer camp in Massachusetts that caters to kids who lost their parents on September 11, 2001. This is the 10th and last year for the camp, so the kids — many of whom were only about 5 or 8 years old at the time — are dealing with the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 and the end of the camp that helped them through so much emotional duress. These kids are so articulate and reflective about what they’ve gone through and how they’ve coped with their tragic losses at such young ages, it was really tough to whittle down.

(Larger version here)

The art of cliff diving

In the Globe video department, we’ve been pretty deeply immersed in preparing stories for our 9/11 10th anniversary package that launches next week. But, I was able to take a lighthearted break from some solemn storytelling to shoot this awesome Red Bull event at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston.

World-renowned cliff divers competing in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series dove off the rood of the ICA building into the Boston Harbor. Pretty epic, to say the least!

Check out the video!

(Larger size here)

Semana Santa in Sevilla: Easter Paso

I went to Spain at the end of April to visit my dear friend Emily Yount. She has been living in southern Spain since September, teaching English in a small farming community outside of Sevilla. I chose the week before Easter because, more than anything, I wanted to photograph Semana Santa in Sevilla:

“During Holy Week, the city is crowded with residents and visitors, drawn by the spectacle and atmosphere. The impact is particularly strong for the Catholic community. The processions are organized by hermandades and cofradías, religious brotherhoods. During the processions, members precede the pasos (of which there are up to three in each procession) dressed in penitential robes, and, with few exceptions, hoods. They may also be accompanied by brass bands.”

Unfortunately, it rained throughout the week. According to this article, no one can remember a year when this many pasos have been canceled in one Easter week.

A sad sight: chairs all set up and no paso to watch.

We spent a lot of the week hunting Nazarenos — the hermanos from the brotherhoods who act as the penitents wearing robes and masks — and documenting how they are “just like us”!

They find safety in numbers.

They wait for the bus.

They wait out the rain under a bridge.

But, with Easter Sunday also came the sun — if I were a religious person, I might say it was appropriate, or make some kind of pun (Son/sun?) — and we were able to watch a pretty epic, and crowed, paso. You could tell that everyone had a bit of “paso fever” since they had waited all week to attend one!


You can check out the whole set of images from the Domingo de Resurreccíon paso HERE!.

Boston Marathon in Pictures

In between the time I was waiting for iPhone videos to compress, export and upload, I was able to shoot some stills during the start and finish of the 2011 Boston Marathon.

Here are some scenes from Hopkinton and everyone looking cold but spritely that morning…

When I got to the finish in Copley Square, I posted up just past the finish line, where people walk off the race and seek sustenance and loved ones, some more successfully than others. The general sentiment was a combination of relief, pain and pure joy…

Covering the Boston Marathon with only an iPhone

My first experience covering the Boston Marathon for The Globe, and my challenge was to use only an iPhone. I shot, edited and posted videos from the field using only that device, while also tweeting pictures (when I could remember to). My synopsis: It brings multitasking to a new, almost debilitating, extreme.

Here are some of the videos that made it to Boston.com:

The athletes arrive

A windy start for 2011 Boston Marathon

(I edited and posted the above video within the hour it took for us to get from Hopkinton to Copley Square.)

Runners welcomed back in Boston

In general, it was a great learning experience. The iPhone is the perfect tool for event coverage because you can do so much with just one device while you’re in the field. Slow 3G mobile service was an issue, as well as battery life. I wasn’t able to publish from the athlete’s village because of poor service and then I almost missed the start of the women’s elite race because I needed to charge the battery.

The editing software could also be a bit less clunky. I really take pride in the polish of each video I produce and you just can’t polish with the available software for the iPhone. But really, making highly produced videos isn’t what the iPhone is for. It’s for getting decent content up fast, so it helped to remind myself of that when shooting. I used an app called ReelDirector, which I hear is better than iMovie, but it is very basic, requires several steps of processing and compression to select and trim clips (so, lots of waiting, relative to clip length, so keep your recording time short!). I really just wish it would allow for more precise trimming — it only lets you cut on each second, which in video can be an eternity. Adding titles and lower thirds couldn’t be easier, though, and they look pretty slick.

I found the best use for the iPhone was to shoot one thing, like the start of one of the race waves, put a Globe bumper on it, export, and have it posted to the website within 5 minutes. Attempting to edit interviews and build a story can feel as taxing as shooting with my 7D, transcoding, editing and publishing, but condensed into one little stress block. It’s good for one quote or one piece of action. Maybe 3 clips, simply strung together with iMovie or ReelDirector, and then move on.

Content gathering with the iPhone can also be very difficult because you can’t compartmentalize: I’m shooting video right now, I’m shooting pictures right now, then I’m going somewhere and will just edit everything. Instead it was: I’m shooting video, while editing video, while taking pictures, while tweeting pictures, while attempting to make a pano and decide if the quality is good enough to post, while answering emails and text messages (I was carrying 3 types of phones), while keeping track of failed uploads, etc. As much as I tried to shoot then edit then post, there was just too much and not enough going on at the same time. I think this is where keeping it simple really comes in. DON’T COLLECT. I think that was my downfall, because the content becomes just too hard to keep track of. Just create and post, create and post.

What helped enormously, in a technical way, was this:

An iPhone audio rig by OWLE. It is made of metal which adds weight and reduces shake while hand-holding the iPhone. It also creates a mount for a microphone or light, adds a wide-angle adapter for the camera lens and provides a place for a tripod cleat. Lots of people were interested in what I had going on there (including this guy, who came up to me to see the rig and I got all flustered. He was running the race.).

But honestly, because it was a sunny and cold morning, I just found it challenging to review and edit my clips, to use the touch screen with cold hands, and also to use other features like shooting panoramic pictures. It was just too hard to see the screen in bright daylight!

All in all, it was a decent experience. I learned a lot about how to best use the device, its strengths and weaknesses, and I look forward to the next opportunity to use the iPhone to its full potential.

The Celtics Super Fans

This was my first really fun project since starting at the Globe. I collaborated with staff photographer Yoon Byun to create this video about the Celtics super fans, who have become famous at the TD Garden for their antics on the megatron. Yoon shot portraits of each and I shot interviews and b-roll to put together this feature.

Although this is the kind of project that I would love to spend a couple weeks on to perfect and really let the creative juices flow, I was on deadline. Shot and transcoded Wednesday night, done by Friday afternoon. Newspapers, right!

I shot all of the video on a Canon 7D (for the interviews I used my Nikon 55mm macro that I love). Audio was a challenge because we had to set up the 9-foot green backdrop right in the middle of the concourse in the TD Garden. It was loud. I used a wired lav connected to my Zoom H4N, synced in post using Pluraleyes (aka: the greatest app ever created), and the audio ended up being not only usable but really high quality. Yoon and I needed different light set-ups, so we alternated: portraits, interview, interview, portraits. Pretty flawless.

Eric Moskowitz also wrote a great story that tied everything together. Hoo-rah, multimedia teams, bridging the gap between print and online!

Camera and sound: Lauren Frohne
Additional camera: Sopan Deb
Portraits: Yoon S. Byun
Editing: Lauren Frohne

World Pillow Fight Day: Boston/Cambridge

As part of a worldwide plot to hold giant pillow fights in public spaces, hundreds (maybe a thousand) people gathered at the Cambridge Common in Cambridge, Mass., to promote camaraderie through pillow fighting.

One of the “Banditos Misteriosos,” the Boston event organizers, who would only identify himself as “Bandito E” said that the event is a part the “urban playground movement”, which promotes the idea that there is “more to a city than bars and restaurants,” and encourages people to use outdoor spaces to interact in new and unique ways.

This was a difficult event to photograph, with so much going on and so many people, but after a few minutes, I decided my goal was simply to capture the pure joy that was happening all around me.

Here are some moments from Saturday’s event (and a video at the bottom)…

See the whole set HERE!

Boston: Libyan demonstration

Saturday afternoon, a group of Libyans living in Boston gathered in Copley Square to show their support for the U.S. and other foreign countries intervening in Libya. I talked to several of the demonstrators who said they would prefer there not to be bombs dropped at all, but if it is going to happen, they would rather the target be Colonel Qaddafi’s forces and not civilians. Many of the demonstrators were young Libyans whose families and relatives are still living in Libya.

Boston Irish

A lot has happened since the last time I updated my blog. Namely, I was hired as a multimedia producer for The Boston Globe and moved to New England.

I’ve been busy getting my feet wet in the world of a major metro with a budding video department, but I found time to go to a crucial Boston event this weekend: the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Southie. South Boston is kind of rough neighborhood, but families flock to the little town to celebrate the deep-seeded Irish tradition of drinking in the early afternoon.

Crowds pouring onto the Red Line

Irish storm trooper

A festive Darth Vader

“Falun Dafa is good”

Public servants

Green beads

Creative drinking

Powering a Nation listed among the 18 Most Innovative Alternative News Stories of 2010

From the article:

“News 21’s Powering a Nation is a student-produced project by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Several different schools participate in News 21’s projects, but this year Powering a Nation clearly stood out because of its unique multimedia reporting on the oil spill. The project features multimedia interviews and stories, as well as interactive games and blog posts written about the project.”

I’m extremely proud that I’m able to say I was a part of this project that has garnered recognition not just as a student project, but also ranked among CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Wikileaks, Pictory, The LA Times, ProPublica, Mint, Life.com and other well-established, professional news companies.

We worked so hard on our stories for Powering a Nation and I cannot believe that it has received this attention.

Roanoke: Breaking the News

At the beginning of last week, December 6, I was stationed with a video camera in a Southeast neighborhood of Roanoke (in fact, it was the Southeast Roanoke neighborhood that I actually live in) waiting for police to descend on a man who had begun an armed standoff with them. He was barricaded in a house, had already let his hostages go, the neighboring houses had also been evacuated, and it was freezing cold outside. See the story here on Roanoke.com.

A screengrab from my video showing a police officer in a sniper position during the armed standoff

After about two hours, the reporter leans over and whispers “We got another assignment, quick, let’s go.”

That assignment was the murder of a Roanoke County mother and the amber alert that had been issued for her 12-year-old daughter, Brittany Smith, who was believed to have been abducted by her mother’s 32-year-old boyfriend, Jeffrey Easley. Since Monday, I’ve produced about six videos (on top of my other daily work) pertaining to the story, mostly press conferences, police work and family members pleading for her safe return.

Covering a story like this can be extremely difficult as well as a heartbreaking experience for the family and devastating for a small community like Roanoke County. For me, the whole experience has been a real-life lesson in breaking news, being a flexible video reporter, quick editing, improvising, working with a newsroom team (everyone has pitched in some way or another) and being prepared to multitask on assignment — for one press conference, I even pulled double duty, shooting and editing both pictures and video of the event, on deadline.

My picture featured in The Roanoke Times, Thursday, December 9, 2010 edition as part of the A1 centerpiece, after the jump.

Fortunately the little girl was found in San Francisco on Friday. We are all still patiently awaiting more details of her harrowing week and for the police to reveal more details of her mother’s murder.

Catch up on the story so far and keep up with future coverage on our Brittany Smith Ongoing Coverage page at Roanoke.com

Roanoke: Tree hunt in Floyd County

On Sunday, the neighbors and I went out to Craig’s dad’s farm in Floyd, Va. to cut down some Christmas trees to decorate our porch. Craig’s dad and his partner own a piece of land in Floyd County with 60,000 trees, three chickens, two cows, two dogs, three bee hives, and a place where they grow their own vegetables.

It was a perfect day out in the mountains, and we came away with two big trees, two little trees and a bunch of branches to make wreaths out of. I documented our adventure… (and also tried out a new watermark for images)…

Quito the Cat

Since I’m officially a cat lady now, I’m kind of obligated to post beautiful pictures of my new life partner, Quito. I adopted him from the Angels of Assisi shelter here in Roanoke. It’s a no-kill rescue that saves strays and animals from high-kill shelters and fosters and adopts them out to loving owners. He is named after the capital of Ecuador, which I had the amazing opportunity to spend some time in last summer while working on Living Galápagos.

Such an upstanding, handsome young man.

Quito Facts:

  • Color: Mackerel tabby
  • Age: approximately 8 months
  • Favorite food: Chicken with brown rice
  • Favorite toy: Straw ball, my clothes
  • Favorite pastime: Running around like a maniac when I try to go to sleep at night
  • Fun fact: I was going to name him Caña, after the potent and life changing, distilled-from-sugar-cane alcohol which heavily influenced our time on the Galápagos Islands, but I thought it sounded too girly for a boy cat.

His feather toy did not survive much longer after this picture was taken.

His is a monster-in-disguise.