Rose Arce, an award winning journalist, producer and documentary film maker, visited Professor Linda Villarosa’s Intro to Journalism class in early October with a talk about her life in journalism and her new ventures into documentary film making.
The class listened raptly and asked good questions as she shared her experiences. Her tenacity, even as a teenager, won her an interview with a space shuttle astronaut’s wife. She fell in love with the field of journalism, and paid her dues as she learned the craft. Today she is a respected producer and journalist. Now working with Soledad O’Brien at Starfish Media Group, she proudly talks of their newest documentary, The War Comes Home. It debuted on CNN in August and garnered praise for its look at returning veterans and the troubles they face.
Arce gave the class a peek at the documentary, pointing out the use of still photography that captures the moments in these men’s lives that need to move to the forefront. “With documentary you can really capitalize on things you need people to say,” said Arce with her characteristic quick patter. “There are many techniques you can use, and once you get that down, your creativity can come into play.”
She prefers to focus on people’s lives: their trials and hardships. By telling those tales, Arce allows viewers to see more about the world, and gets the audience to think. “It’s allowing us to view what it’s like from his perspective,” she said, referring to one of the vets in the documentary. Showing this angle gives the story a very personal touch and using still photography, combined with interviews conducted by O’Brien and other video footage, helps create an intimate portrait of the lives wrecked by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Arce never stopped talking, even as she took questions from the class. Her bright eyed, fast-paced style serves her well. She spoke about many things: her history in print journalism, her move to TV and video, her passion for the stories she tells.
What’s her key to success? “Research, research, research.” Through laughter the point came across: You have to know what you are talking about. Get the background; the details will come as you tell the story.
With 20 plus years of award-winning journalism behind her and more to come, this suggestion may compel some of the class to tell their own tales in the future.