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Lorraine Ustaris

23: October 2019

Lorraine A. Ustaris is committed to pedagogically-driven, multimedia work that lies at the intersection of education and journalism.

Her most recent endeavor is a collaborative, documentary project called Our Democracy, led by award-winning photographer Andrea Bruce and funded by the National Geographic Society and the Catchlight Foundation. As Our Democracy’s video journalist and education specialist, she uses her experiences in production and public education to create video content, education programming, and digital curricular materials.

Ustaris earned her master’s in education at Villanova University (2008) and her master’s in journalism and documentary film at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University (2016).

Before joining Our Democracy, Ustaris was a multimedia producer for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. She films, edits and produces her own work and has been featured on The Atlantic Selects, National Geographic's Out of Eden Walk, Elle.com, and PRI’s America Abroad.

In addition to her media experience, she has over a decade of experience teaching literature and multimodal storytelling at the secondary and college levels. She is a teaching consultant for the National Writing Project and has presented at noteworthy conferences on education innovation. In 2012, she won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Her classroom practice is the subject of a new book Arts-based Teaching and Learning in the Literacy Classroom (Routledge, 2019).

Between projects, she continues mentoring youth as a media instructor, most recently for PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs in Manila, Philippines.

Ustaris is a first-generation Filipino-American. She is currently based in Philadelphia, where she lives with her 113-pound American Bulldog Charlie.

Lorraine participated in the October 2019 MediaStorm Methodology Workshop. She had the following to say about her experience:

The Methodology Workshop was beneficial to me as an educator and storyteller.

As a producer and storyteller always yearning to learn how to improve my work, I valued Brian’s open discussion about MediaStorm philosophies and production methodologies. The workshop covered a wide range--including a review of shooting and editing fundamentals and a deconstruction of pre-production, production and post for several films in MediaStorm’s catalogue. I’m inspired by Brian’s commitment to compelling storytelling, elevating the exploration of themes in the human experience.

Throughout the workshop, Brian demonstrated teaching and presenting strategies helpful to anyone in media education creating lessons for students learning any stage of video storytelling. I’m looking forward to exploring the resources he’s made available to all workshop participants and utilizing in the youth media workshops I teach.

My reporting team hopes to partner with MediaStorm on our current documentary project. Brian’s workshop helped me understand the range of high quality films MediaStorm has produced throughout the years and learn more about the company’s vision for future projects that will benefit from the impressive new platform the team has developed. Samia’s presentation tied everything together, providing a thorough, step-by-step explanation of MediaStorm’s partnership plans and processes.

I hope for more opportunities to connect with the amazing teachers and creators I met at the workshop and the extensive network of professionals working with MediaStorm. There is an urgent need for the cultivation of a stronger, more inclusive and supportive community in this industry, and I’m so glad to see that is part of MediaStorm’s vision.