Journ Student Jess

Student journalist looking for feedback on assignments and journalism in general

A surgeon in Somalia: Sharing a story through an audio slideshow format

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In the small town of Ras Kamboni…

A visiting surgeon and his team have set up shop at the local medical office to offer specialized care to the native residents of Somalia. The work of Dr. Omar Saleh, a doctor with the World Health Organization, is showcased in this audio slideshow produced by the British Broadcasting Organization (BBC.) The story is told in a narrative form in the beginning, then moves on to individual patients and the attention they received from Saleh during his visit.

The first shot of the slideshow is of the sun rising over Ras Kamboni, illuminating the hatched roofs of the village and a herd of goats. It is quickly followed by a barefoot child, being held by its mother in a poverty-stricken environment. I thought these two opening shots were a great way to set the scene for the audio slideshow and give more visual information about Ras Kamboni. The story continues to explain the background of the small village and how it has been affected by civil war and human rights violations. The last image, a child looking back as his mother holds his hand and balances water on her head, is a reflection of Saleh’s closing statements, about respecting the culture of Somalia, and tied the story together well.

Photographs and sounds…

The most striking thing about the photos used in the slideshow is the immense cultural gap between the viewer and the subjects. Images show stick houses, children with paralyzed legs and a simple medical office, barely equipped with any necessities. There are a variety of shots, such as landscapes that serve to set the scene, portraits of individual patients and Saleh, close-up shots of medical procedures and images taken at a normal distance and then repeated as a close-up.

The slideshow began with the natural sound of Somalis interacting in the medical office, waiting to receive treatment, with a baby’s cry standing out among the voices. Saleh narrates the slideshow, illustrating pictures with additional context and background information. There is minimal movement through transitions using fade-in and outs as well as zooming on certain pictures where a particular area is being focused on. The transitions in the slideshow worked well with the audio to illustrate when Saleh was explaining a patient’s medical problems, with the pacing just right.


There were no captions used with this slideshow because Saleh does a great job narrating and providing information about the images as they appear. There was no additional information provided and none of the important people in the photos were identified, except by Saleh as he introduced their individual stories.

How the audio slideshow fared…

I believe all the components of the slideshow worked well together; Saleh’s voice was even and of a good volume, the photos captured the plight of Ras Kamboni and the natural sound and music gave it an air of authenticity. In our textbook, The Multimedia Journalist, the author emphasizes the importance of well-placed audio and natural sound, which this slideshow did a great job of. The various accounts of patient care worked well in this project since it  set up an easy way to define different parts of the slideshow to make sure the information was clear and examples were provided. If this was my slideshow, I would have included more soundbites from the patients who visited Saleh, to get their reactions. This would have entailed hiring a translator but since the images were so powerful, I felt the need to hear their stories firsthand. Overall, this was an impressive slideshow and was professionally done.


Written by hayne2jr

February 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm

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