The past few days have been some of the busiest I’ve had so far in Thessaloniki. I can’t believe there are only four more full days before we board the bus to Athens, which promises to be a completely different experience and city. I’m still processing some of the experiences I’ve had since the weekend, but before I delve in further, here’s a short overview of what I’ve been up to.
Audience with the mayor
Monday’s lecture at the American College of Thessaloniki was cut short so that we could get back on our bus and meet with the advisor to Thessaloniki’s mayor, Leonidis Makris. Not only did we get to have a long discussion with Makris, the mayor himself, Yiannis Boutaris, set aside a few minutes to answer student questions. If you haven’t heard, the mayor of Thessaloniki is a pretty cool guy. He wears an earring, has tattoos, and leans far to the left on social issues. He also speaks openly about being a recovering alcoholic and has been called “a beacon” of hope for the city.
I asked a question about the status of recycling initiatives in Thessaloniki, since it’s a story I’ve been pursuing since before we arrived in Greece and since recycling has been on the mayor’s radar since he took office in 2011. It’s clear from my research that public awareness of recycling initiatives has picked up in recent years, despite ongoing problems and distractions. Boutaris concurred:
“We have now a goal of having around 50% of garbage which has to be reused…I think we are doing a good job. People are started to understand that treating the garbage [recycling] brings money to the state.”
Many dissolves make one great guitar video
On Monday night, I stayed up until nearly 2a.m. to finish editing the video component of Cody’s story on Giannis Paleodimopoulos, a classical guitar maker based in a village outside Thessaloniki. My first draft came out a bit shaky, but Mike Beaudet, journalism professor at Northeastern and resident videography expert who’s now joined our team, helped me improve the video by adding transitions and creating a stronger ending.
I’m really happy with how it turned out, plus it was kind of fun to stay up late with what Carlene called “team guitar.” Like Cody wrote on his blog, the “late night journo jam session” made me feel like a real journalist. Perhaps a member of Mackenzie McHale’s reporting team on Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom – which I pull up YouTube clips of whenever I have a free moment here. And when I have a free moment pretty much anywhere. Lame but true.
Reporting on the refugee crisis
This is another thing that I’m doing, but I don’t want to lump all of my thoughts into a post about updates. So, more coming soon.