One of this year’s workshop students who benefited from Delfino’s newfound passion for teaching is Mimi Mutesa. She’s from Uganda, where her mom is one of the country’s first female trauma surgeons. Mutesa decided she wanted a totally different career and moved to the U.S. to pursue film four years ago.
After a few film classes at Calvin College, Mutesa fell into a job editing the arts and entertainment section of her student newspaper. Now she’s interning at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“I love telling stories either way. I’m a photographer, too, but I want a career that has stability,” Mutesa said.
When a professor told her about the NPPA, she went online and found the News Video Workshop. She spent around $1,000 of her own money, and her final college spring break, to attend the workshop.
“I was a little nervous not only about being a novice, but I feel like you sort of have to get a tough skin when you’re in journalism,” Mutesa said. “My biggest surprise, or enjoyment, is that everyone is so open and so welcoming and so encouraging of questions and mistakes.”
When Mutesa graduates in May, she now plans to become a television news producer.
“Even if I want to be a producer, I think it’s super important to know what the reporters and the MMJs (multimedia journalist) are going through so I’m not just an outside person telling people what to do,” Mutesa said. “I can understand why this story is challenging that I’m assigning, and here are ways that I think would help because I went to this workshop.”
When Berglund heard about Mutesa’s passion for making newsrooms of the future a better place for photojournalists to work, she lit up.
“That’s fabulous. That’s what we need more of in producers, in middle management,” Berglund said. “The people in the trenches are wanting to do these great stories, but sometimes it’s hard.”
The workshop motto is “Give us a week, and we’ll change your life.” For Berglund, it held true. After that week in 1996, her career was unstoppable. She joined management herself in 2001, running the video department at nonprofit World Vision as its creative director.
Many POY winners, Berglund among them, have been beckoned to big opportunities outside journalism after they win. Darren Durlach started Early Light Media. Nathan Thompson, Contrast Visuals. Eric Kehe, Loclyz Media Services. Mark Anderson, Creative Soul Video. Jeff Christian, Side Road Media.
In 2006, Berglund joined their ranks by starting her own production company: Gold Dog Media Inc. It has taken her to 27 countries, from Angola to Rwanda, to create spots for clients such as Starbucks and the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation. Even though she’s now her own boss, Berglund still applies lessons from her week in Norman, Oklahoma, two decades ago. Especially lessons from two-time national Emmy winner Bob Brandon, who critiqued her stories.
“He would stop on a frame and say, ‘Would you hang that on your wall?’” Berglund said. “I think about that every single day when I shoot.”
She hasn’t settled on the next big thing for her storytelling career, but Berglund knows she’ll keep teaching at the News Video Workshop. After all, it’s still holding true to its motto: changing her life.
“Every time I come and speak here, I’m inspired when I come back home,” Berglund said. “I meet students that have these amazing ideas, and I think, ‘Wow, I never would have thought of that.’ They inspire me.” ■
Katie Schoolov is a digital video producer for CNBC in San Francisco. She’s serving her second elected term on the NPPA’s board of directors and has been on the News Video Workshop faculty since 2016.