Facing Change: Documenting America (FCDA), is a non-profit collective of acclaimed photographers and writers producing and publishing under-reported aspects of America’s most urgent issues and distributing this work via an innovative online platform while highlighting the efforts of individuals and organizations working to affect positive change.
At a time when America faces enormous challenges, FCDA is sending photographer/writer teams in to communities across America to vividly illustrate the nation’s most pressing concerns-from health care to immigration to the cost of the war on terror. The results are an unparalleled collection of visual and textual narratives accessible through an innovative online platform–called the Public Sphere–enabling direct dialogue with America on stories and issues. FCDA images are distributed via PhotoShelter, an active and searchable archive to newspapers, and magazines worldwide.
As media outlets yield to corporate considerations, they have narrowed their coverage of vital issues, FCDA is filling that gap by humanize a wide spectrum of neglected and misunderstood issues. For example, one team will follow veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life. Another will explore the current economic crisis and the decades-long downturn in the Rust Belt. Others will focus on forgotten corners like Hereford, Texas; Fayette, Mississippi, and Allen, South Dakota-places that rarely draw the nation’s attention.
To highlight these issues, FCDA has created an online “Public Sphere”, an interactive platform that hosts stories, images and multi-media pieces created by the teams. These stories are searchable through a series of issue-related US maps linking the public to FCDA photographers and writers, community nonprofits and individuals via active blogs, and comments sections. Fostering dialogue, the Public Sphere will empower communities and individuals to suggest story ideas as well as connect, and initiate solutions. As the communications director at Detroit’s Gleaners Community Food Bank Anne Schenk recently stated:
“Many nonprofits lack the experience and resources to effectively communicate the value and impact of their work. I believe that Facing Change: Documenting America can provide an invaluable service to nonprofits.”
Drawing on the collective’s extensive network of media contacts, FCDA’s images, stories, and multimedia pieces are searchable online for use in both traditional and new media. In the future the Public Sphere will be expanded in the form of interactive installations traveling to towns and cities throughout the nation to reach audiences beyond the internet. The archive will reside at the Library of Congress.
Inspired by the Farm Security Administration photography project of the Great Depression FCDA is comprised of some of the country’s most accomplished photographers and writers. Facing Change: Documenting America is currently making a powerful contribution to the journalism landscape, giving a voice to new perspectives and influencing public discourse. Initially planned for four years, the project has the potential to be continued for years to come.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Nina Alvarez is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker and video photographer. For over twenty years, she has been dedicated to reporting and telling stories through news segments, radio reports, television documentaries and multimedia. In 2006, Alvarez produced, directed and photographed the documentary “Very Young Girls,” which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was broadcast on the Showtime Network. Nina’s long list of producing, writing and directing credits includes: Latino Americans (PBS) Marijuana USA (CNBC), the Oscar nominated, Which Way Home (HBO) and the Emmy-nominated, Aftershock, Pakistan (MTV). She has produced multimedia works in collaboration with photographers of the highly regarded international agency Noor, that have screened at World Press as well as projected at the Maison de Le Parc La Villette in Paris.
Alvarez began her journalism career at ABC News in 1993 where she produced for World News Tonight, Nightline and Good Morning America. Since 2001, she has reported and produced for Univision, NBC, CNN, NPR and Al Jazeera from the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia and Latin America.
Richard Cahan has been a journalist for forty years. He is the author or co-author of more than a dozen books. He worked on the Chicago Sun-Times from 1983 to 1999, primarily serving as the paper’s picture editor. He left to found and direct CITY 2000, a project that documented Chicago during the year 2000. Since then, he has concentrated on writing and producing books as a co-owner of CityFiles Press, a small publishing company based in Chicago. Cahan, born and raised in Chicago, received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. He worked as a writer, editor, and photographer for small newspapers before coming to the Sun-Times. Among other books, he is the author of They All Fall Down: Richard Nickel’s Struggle to Save America’s Architecture and co-author of Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows.
Beth Davies has over ten years of experience in corporate philanthropy, marketing and public relations in the US and internationally. Previously Davies led the development of the Arthur Guinness Fund in her role as the global Vice President of Corporate Relations for the Guinness brand. This multi-million dollar program supports social entrepreneurs around the world. Prior to this she managed a one million Euro annual giving program as the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Diageo Ireland.
MaryAnne Golon is an assistant managing editor and the director of photography for The Washington Post. As a member of the senior management team, she supervises all aspects of photography for the daily newspaper and its digital forms: on the web, on mobile and tablet. Golon was previously Time‘s director of photography and co-managed the international newsweekly’s photography department for more than 15 years. Golon led the photo team that produced the Hurricane Katrina and the September 11, 2001 special Time editions that each won coveted ASME National Magazine Awards. Golon received a B.S. in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida and is a distinguished alumna. She completed a fellowship in Public Policy and Media Studies at Duke University.
Sheryl A. Mendez is Senior Program Officer Global Human Rights Program of the non-profit organization, Freedom House. She is also a founding member of The Crimes of War Project and editor of the book, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know. Before joining Freedom House, Mendez worked with the Committee to Protect Journalists since 2009 engineering and implementing a program of direct assistance to journalists worldwide who must go into hiding or exile to escape threats; those in need of medicine and other material support in prison; and injured following assaults in retaliation for their work. She is a widely published photojournalist who covered the aftermath of war in Iraq, Lebanon and Libya. She has worked throughout the Middle East including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Egypt as well as throughout Asia including Pakistan, Cambodia and China, among other countries. Mendez holds a Masters in International Affairs and a BA in Political Science and Journalism. In late 2009, she was awarded the Every Human has Rights media award in Paris, France by Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson of The Elders for documenting the experiences of Iraqi refugees and asylum seekers in the Middle East and Europe.