Fabian Westerwelle ◉ Blog

2013 in Review

Time flies! Before we're too far into 2014, I wanted to take the time to look back on last year. Here is a quick rundown of a few personal headlines from the past 12 months. In April, I traveled to Boston for two weeks to coordinate logistics for ABC News' coverage of the Marathon Bombings. As we all know, the events of that entire week were extremely dramatic and heart wrenching. I believe our coverage was thorough and well executed. I hope we managed to help shed light on something that affected so many. I had little time to take photos, but here are a few snapshots from that time:
In May, I traveled to Europe with my wife Rachel for a long awaited vacation. It was great to be able to sped more than a week with my fantastic grandfather Werner in his home of Switzerland. We took a road trip through the country and ended up visiting my uncles in the town of Sent. It was a wonderful time. You can find a selection of photos from the trip on my Flickr account.
After returning and working on some local DC projects, I headed to Sanford, FL in June to cover the Zimmerman trial. The days were busy with feed coordination, producing live shots and media organization. Of course, the trial stirred up discussions regarding race relations like few things have in recent years, and I was grateful to have been able to be there first hand to contribute to our coverage. Here are some photos from that event as well:
In November, I traveled to the Philippines to cover the tragic tsunami that hit there. Our team did excellent work covering the devastation and recovery efforts. As always, it was an honor to be part of the process to inform our audience back in the states.
On to 2014 and whatever new projects and adventures come along...

Inauguration 2013


After months of planning, ABC News yet again successfully produced a full day of Inauguration coverage this past Monday. Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos anchored 7.5+ hours of Special Events coverage from the Newseum, World News originated from there as well, and Nightline aired from our DC bureau. My team had to bring together and coordinate several dozen camera crews, studio technicians, couriers and transmission truck operators to accomplish our mission. Additionally, the last few weeks involved a lot of security coordination, credential procurement and logistical planning. In the end, it was a great success and the coverage looked great, thanks to all involved. I am very proud to work with such dedicated colleagues. I hope you enjoyed the show! I wish I had more photos, but it was just too busy. Hopefully I'll be able to add a few more soon...

Republican National Convention Coverage

Gallery of RNC screen cap
I just recently returned from Tampa, FL after working for two weeks on ABC News' coverage of the Republican National Convention. In addition to the expected logistical challenges, we faced the potential for hurricane Isaac to affect the proceedings. In the end, however, everything went very well and I think we put on some great TV. It was a pleasure working with our talented team. On the last day of our work there, I managed to squeeze in an hour to take some photos. Check out a small selection above (link will take you to Flickr)!

Volunteer Pilots Rescue Dogs in Danger

My recent story on Pilots N' Paws is now online as of Friday! I shot this on a Canon 60D and cut it in Final Cut Pro 7. See it on ABCNews.com.

By FABIAN WESTERWELLE Aug. 17, 2012 At Potomac Airfield near Washington, D.C., you would expect to see pilots transporting politicians, spin-doctors and other bureaucrats to and from the nation's capital, but on a sunny day in July, Mike Young prepped his aircraft for a different type of mission. He, along with two canine-handlers, were preparing to pick up two foster dogs from North Carolina to bring them to their "forever" homes in Blue Bell, Pa. "This is a voluntary effort," said Young, a longtime pilot with the volunteer organization "Pilots N' Paws" that works with rescue groups across the country to bring adopted animals to their new homes. "We don't charge anything for it. We do it because we like to fly and we want to save dogs." Read more at ABCNews.com...

Airborne Dogs

Pilot Mike Young and the team in Person County, NC in front of his Columbia 400.

Recently I had the chance to accompany private pilot Mike Young from Virginia on a Pilots N' Paws mission. Pilots N' Paws is an organization based in Landrum, SC whose members volunteer to fly dogs from shelters to their final adopters. These trips are more comfortable for the dogs compared to ground transportation, and often give dogs from rural kill-shelters a much higher chance of finding a caring home. Mike, his helpers, and I flew to KTDF (Person County Airport) to pick up two dogs from their foster families and deliver them to their final adopters in Blue Bell, PA (Wings Field, KLOM). The trip was organized through Rhonda Beach of Chance's Angel Rescue & Education, who is a very active and caring animal activist in Person County, NC. I'm working on a story about Pilot N' Paws and this trip and will share it here when the final cut is complete. Stay tuned. For now, here are a couple of behind-the-scenes photos...

Courtesy of Mike Young © Courtesy of Mike Young ©

“Before I die…”

Before I die

This is a piece of street-art I encountered driving home on 14th street here in DC a couple weeks ago. A dozen or so people had gathered to write their dreams on the chalkboard or simply discuss what others had written. This man just finished writing his "bucket list" item on the wall.

See more photos in the photography section...

Longform Journalism on the Web

At the end of the day, people will always love great stories (no matter the medium). When it comes to print, Nicholas Thompson, the editor of TheNewYorker.com, sums it up pretty well in this The Verge interview:

People love long narrative story-telling. It's sort of innate. For a long time, however, the internet seemed to always push things to be shorter and snappier. A reaction of some sort was almost inevitable. And fortunately, some of the people who've been curating longform narrative content have done a great job of building communities and making things easy to read and find.

As he mentioned, this 'reaction' has yielded some fantastic curating of longform journalism. Arguably the most thorough resource is Longreads.com, but there are numerous other sources that bring together great articles in one place. Among them: Longform.org, TheFeature.net, and The Electric Typewriter.

Combine all that with an Instapaper account, and you have an unlimited amount of fantastic story-telling to peruse in a manageable way. (Now just follow my friend Chris Mulligan's way and read all those articles with your kindle.)

To see which articles I've been reading lately, check out the "What I'm reading..." section. It's updated almost daily.

A closer look at the New Media revolution

James Fallows has written a fantastic piece about New Media in this month's The Atlantic...

Everyone from President Obama to Ted Koppel is bemoaning a decline in journalistic substance, seriousness, and sense of proportion. But the author, a longtime advocate of these values, takes a journey through the digital-media world and concludes there isn’t any point in defending the old ways. Consumer-obsessed, sensationalist, and passionate about their work, digital upstarts are undermining the Old Media—and they may also be pointing the way to a brighter future.
Learning to Love the (Shallow, Divisive, Unreliable) New Media" For more of my favorite articles around the web, check out the "What I'm reading" section in the left column of the blog section.

Glif tripod adapter for iPhone

Here's another great tool financed through Kickstarter. The Glif let's you use your iPhone on any tripod quickly and easily. It's simple and effective, and it just works. I love combining it with a XLR and 1/8" adapter to turn my iPhone into a portable live-streaming kit. Studio Neat recently also came out with new accessories that provide some extra functionality (allowing you to connect your Glif to a keychain, for example)..

DSLR GorillaPod Skates

You've got to love this idea... These CineSkates attach to the bottom of the popular GorillaPod tripod and allow the camera to smoothly skate along on the ground. You can do straight dolly shots, move the camera in circles, or even create moving time-lapse videos. Justin Jensen conceived the idea and raised the initial funding through Kickstarter. The system is available for cameras of all sizes, from the iPhone to the heaviest of DSLR's. Another item to add to my ever growing DSLR wishlist...