Pitches for Video Project

1

A friend of mine, Anqi (Angel) Chen, is a freshman studying piano and music management at Berklee College of Music right now. I have known her since we were both little kids. And she was already playing piano for a while when we first met.

Why music? Why Boston? Those are the two central questions of the story. Interview questions will also involve aspects like the reasons she chose to keep practicing piano instead of having more time to play as a child. Choosing arts as one’s career can be really hard as artworks usually involve a lot of subjective opinions while scientific research can be very objective. So, why did Angel persists in doing music? How she is seeing music as part of her life? The answers to those questions can also be found by diving into her current daily life. Besides sit-down interviews, I will follow her to classes on weekdays and other activities she is doing on spare time. I also would like to interview some of Angel’s classmates to see how they think of her and her works so far.

Angel has won many awards in China along the way. So, I am also very curious about why she decided to step out of the comfort zone where she already established a foundation and came to the US for college.

2

I would like to follow a scientist (researcher) at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. My ideal focus is Dr. Susumu Tonegawa who has won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987. However, Dr. Tonegawa is the principal investigator of a lab and the director of RIKEN-MIT Center for Neural Circuit Genetics, so he may be too busy to accept the interview offer. If it does not work out, the alternative plan is to visit the institution first to learn more about the people and laboratories there as there is not enough information online. From there, another person can be identified as the target.

The central question of the story is the person’s reasons for pursuing neuroscience research. Why he or she is such passionate about what he/she is doing? I will follow both the person’s daily laboratory work and activities outside of the scientific field in order to “know” the person which will lead to more well-informed and comprehensive answers to the questions.

Specifically for Dr. Tonegawa, I would like to know the reasons he chose to pursue his Ph. D at UCSD instead of Kyoto University where he studies as an undergraduate student. From there, interviews can also be extended to how Dr. Tonegawa sees the differences in Japan and the US in terms of scientific research.

3

The location will be either the Newton-Wellesley Urgent Care Center in Waltham or the EMT section of the Waltham Fire Department. I would like to spotlight one of the physicians (or EMTs) at either location. The focus will be the kind of life choices they are making on a daily basis. Since this kind of organizations operates every day with extensive hours comparing with other workplaces, I would like to show the life of people working there, 7 days a week, and how they see their jobs. Surrounding the central character, interviews will also be conducted with colleagues and patients to picture the person in a full-dimension. Especially as a physician, there will be numerous options to work in other sectors of the hospital, why did the person choose to stay at an urgent care center? On the other hand, it is also interesting to dig into the rationale a person decided to become an EMT as such job could be extremely stressful sometimes because of the serious responsibility of life.

Pitches for Potential Stories

  • Teaching your native language in a foreign country.

Person to interview: Assist. Prof. Hisae Fujiwara or Lecturer Yukimi Nakano

Pictures can be taken either in the office or during lectures.

– What inspire you to teach Japanese in a university in the US? Why do you choose to stay in the current position?

– How do you usually start the conversation with students?

– What do you find most difficult while teaching? How did you overcome the difficulties?

– Is there any difference between students with different backgrounds (origins) when they are trying to learn Japanese?

– What is your future plan? What do you want to accomplish the most in the coming years?

  • Why Neuroscience?

Person to interview: Ph. D. candidate Daniel Acker or Associate Prof. Suzanne Paradis

Pictures can be taken while the person is conducting experiments or reading scientific literature in the lab.

– What did you study as an undergraduate student in college?

– What help you to decide the neuroscience focus among the wide scientific topics?

– Do you have any relatives or friends who have neurological diseases or psychological disorders?

– How and when did you determine the current research interests?

– What is the most difficult situation you have encountered during experiments so far? How did you solve the problem?

– What aspects of your research do you believe will benefit others the most?

– How do you envision the next few years?

Introducing myself

I am primarily interested in science journalism as a neuroscience and biology double major. I would like to learn the writing skills which will allow me to communicate the complicated scientific ideas and exciting news to the general public in easily understood and enjoyable ways.

Meanwhile, I also realized that multimedia techniques can be very useful and important in such a technology generation when some of the professors often used videos and pictures in class to help us understand some scientific definitions.  In the future, I hope to contribute to the international science communication utilizing my language skills in English, Chinese, and Japanese as well.

The on-campus news that I would like to comment on this week is that the next Science Hall of Fame member was announced. Natsuko Nina Yamagata, a chemistry major here at Brandeis who will graduate this May, was selected for her extraordinary research experience. I got to know Natsuko the first time last winter in a science-related Japanese experiential learning class. However, I was first impressed by her works in music instead of in science. Natsuko is a member of the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra and she also works as a private piano teacher off campus. While the news published on BrandeisNow on the 18th this month only mentioned her interests and accomplishments in the science field. I felt that it is also very valuable to show readers the other face of the subject other than an excellent scientist since including other information may extent the audience range.

I would like to comment on one of the national news happened this week as well, the Trump Dossier, since it has stimulated wide discussions in the journalism field? Should BuzzFeed publish the whole document? Should we admit such kind of information as news?  What should the journalists do when facing attacks from politicians? Many questions were asked and debated among both professional journalists and the general public, but no solid conclusions were reached. The Ethics in Journalism class talked about this news as well. After listening to the inspiring discussions led by the professor in class, I found that I could stand on either side of most of the problems and reasoning for each of them. Then, where are the correct answers?