Who We Are
Ben de la Cruz
Nabakov, The Replacements, The Smiths, Tom Wolfe, Dostoevsky. I wanted to be like all these folks when I left college to become a writer and, ummm, a rock star in New York City. It's hard to write that without any irony. That was my early and mid-20s. Can you tell?
You may have also guessed that my creative plan didn't exactly work out. That is, until my good friend John asked me to produce a documentary with him. About $20,000 and six months of work later, our little movie was shown nationally on PBS. It wasn't a bad start. More importantly, I knew then I wanted to trade words for images -- Wolfe and the Russians for "Hoop Dreams" and Errol Morris. The musicians I will always stubbornly keep.
The Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini famously compared the language of cinema to how we dream. "It's a language made of image," he said. "Every object and every light means something, as in a dream." Aren't we all wired to experience life like this? I think I am -- which is why I enjoy the process of thinking, creating and seeing the world as in a dream.
I am a producer/assignment editor for the breaking news video team. My role is to stay on top of the breaking news of the day and produce and edit video and audio clips from various sources, including Washington Post reporters, on tight deadlines. (Okay, what I really do is just watch MSNBC and CNN all day.)
I also work with washingtonpost.com's daily videographers to assign, produce and edit daily video stories covering the local community. A graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism, I'm a long-suffering Terrapin fan - who includes Maryland's basketball national championship in 2002 as one of the highlights of my life, closely preceded by the birth of my son and my wedding day. I'm an avid golfer and my ideal day would include 18 holes, a tailgate party and a football game.
It was 1999. I was feverishly coding hundreds of HTML pages when I first saw a video posted online that was shot and edited by a washingtonpost.com videojournalist. A couple seconds into the video, I had one of those "That's it! That's what I want to do when I grow up!" moments. I immediately bought my own camera and began practicing. Two years later, I produced my first piece while on vacation in Corsica. Today, my stories range from elections in Lebanon to eating cicadas in D.C. The rest can be seen here.
One of my favorite things about video is the way certain things come to life through the lens and on the screen. Voices, intonations, expressions, action and emotion come through on camera in a way they sometimes can't in written stories. I made the switch from print journalism to video in 2003 here at washingtonpost.com. Writing will always be my frame of reference, but shooting and editing video have helped me approach stories in new ways. Please feel free to e-mail me with feedback, suggestions or questions.
I arrived at washingtopost.com in 1997 after stints in book and CD-ROM publishing and as a freelance writer and Web designer. At post.com, I first worked as a writer, editor and online producer for the arts and entertainment sections of the site. In late 1999, I jumped ship to join the multimedia staff, where I have worked as a producer ever since. I still cover art and culture stories, but I've spent time since then covering technology, politics and international affairs. My work here has taken me all over the Washington area and all around the country in
search of people with interesting stories to tell.
My favorite video stories - to watch and to make - are about really interesting people. Like the bluegrass barber and the gay cop and the rodeo granddad.
Please feel free to drop me a line.
I'm a "Ballmer" native and University of Maryland graduate who, after a summer internship with washingtonpost.com and a quick jaunt around the country in a Civic, couldn't resist returning to the District and the world of multimedia. I now spend my days and evenings -- and sometimes late nights -- producing and editing breaking news video for the site. You can see most of my work alongside top stories of the day-- anything from
the president to NASCAR to international terrorism.
When not working my journalistic magic, I also enjoy escapades along the Metro lines, being the star player on my kickball team and quiet nights with my guinea pig, Maybell. My job is unpredictable and often so is the nature of my pieces. Luckily though, I am, too, so that's usually when I'm at my best.
More Biographies to Come...