UC Berkeley Graduates Detained in Iran


Since July, three UC Berkeley graduates have been detained in Iran. The three are held captive after crossing an unmarked border on a hiking trip.  Family and friends of the hikers organized vigils across the nation. They call it, “Vigils of Hope”. One of the vigils was held in Berkeley.

My heart goes out to the hikers and their loved ones. As soon as I found out about the incident and the upcoming vigil, I knew I had to cover it. After my hiatus from video journalism, I realized I need to get back. There are so many untold and undertold stories out there that needed attention. Though at times, I question if it’s worth my energy, I realize I don’t have to burn myself out covering these events.

In any case, upon arriving at the vigil, I saw the turnout was pretty small. Only a few people showed up, bringing their signs, candles and musical instruments. I thought I should go back and drop the story. As I was about two blocks away, I looked again and saw more people joined the vigil. Maybe I miscalculated but that crowd was way smaller when I first glanced. Not only the crowd got bigger, but reporters and camera men have arrived. The media people are from the big television and radio stations such as KTVU, KGO, KPIX, etc.

I felt awkward especially because KTVU reporter, Amber Lee was there. I used to intern for KTVU and tag along with Amber, and now we’re both covering the same story as reporters and not intern-reporter. After a moment, I thought to myself, I should get over it and focus on the story. Amber was quite gracious and waited for her turn as I was interviewing the mother of the hiker. After the interview, she greeted me hello, and cordially asked the mother of the hiker to attach the KTVU microphone when she’s ready to address her speech to the crowd. Amber and I both have jobs to do so we didn’t really get to chat but that single acknowledgment was enough. It was really nice to see her again.

The vigil comprised of different kinds of people-to say the least. Some are relatives and close friends of the hiker, Sarah Shourd, some are acquaintance, others barely know her but wants to participate anyway. Others are friends of the other hikers and they flew in to the Bay Area to support the cause.

I decided not to do a “reporter stand-up” because I think the story doesn’t call for it. Besides, I have the world’s most unreliable tripod,  which was why I held the camera for the most part of the shoot. So if you’re wondering why some shots are shaky, now you know. On the other hand, I’m very happy with my voice delivery. Unlike my other stories, my voice for this particular piece sounds clear and natural.

If you have any feedback, please let me know.

By the way, for more information about the hikers: visit www.freethehikers.org


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