CNN producer speaks to Video Art and Photography classes


CNN Producer Gabriel Ramirez speaks to a visual arts class. Credit: Danielle Spitz/Chronicle

Danielle Spitz

Senior Producer for CNN Politics Gabe Ramirez spoke to combined arts classes Oct. 29 about his experience with the network for 16 years, including his work in photojournalism and videography.

Focusing on on-air production and CNN digital, Ramirez has reported on stories such as the combat in Iraq, 2010 Haiti earthquake and every presidential election since 1996.

Students at San Luis High School in San Luis, Arizona joined students in Video Art I and Photography I classes through a video call to listen to the presentation. Visual Arts Teacher Joe Medina invited the Arizona students to join in on the presentation so they could apply what they learned from Ramirez to the upcoming collaboration with Photography I students called “Sense of Place.”

Ramirez worked for CNN’s Baghdad bureau for four years as an embedded journalist.

“There were no restrictions,” Ramirez said. “The restrictions were restrictions I put on myself, and that all comes with experience of working in a hostile environment. There were certain things I would do and there were certain places I would go, and there were other things I refused to do.”

In a new digital video series called #MaeveWest, Ramirez partners with colleague Maeve Reston to investigate the effects of politics in the western half of the United States. The videos are about two- to three-minutes long.

“We wanted to make our pieces like a slice of life and keep the audience’s attention,” Ramirez said. “When I go into a story, I know that there are basic elements I need, besides the interview and framing of wide, medium and tight shots. I just make sure I get detail.”

Ramirez offered advice to the students for how to visually tell a story.

“Some of the stories that I loved working on the most were stories in my community, and there’s always a story wherever you go,” Ramirez said. “The community you live in is the community you care about the most, and so when you find a really interesting story there, you feel a passion for telling it.”