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In “100 gallons,” a new online film from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, viewers learn some intriguing facts about water.

A turd is 75 percent water, for instance.

The best-tasting water has a flavor resembling spit, for another.

And the average American consumes 100 gallons of water a day, the fact that gave the film its name.

Nine students at the journalism school spent 10 weeks producing the stories for the project, which launched Wednesday. The film examines the role that water plays in Americans’ lives.

Viewers explore the stories with a highly unusual navigation tool: a 2.5-minute video that, when paused, reveals stories related to the image on the screen at that moment.

Highlights of the film include the story of a New York City man who explores and photographs the city’s sewers, the tale of an Ohio woman who decides to sell her home when her neighbors sign up for gas drilling, and a look at the quest to find water in space.

Watch the film.


The production team for the Living Galápagos project will host an advance screening of the short documentaries for the project at 6:15 p.m. tonight in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium.

A collection of student-produced multimedia stories about the people of the island of San Cristóbal, the project was completed by a team of students and faculty from the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication who spent spring break on San Cristóbal collecting videos, photos and data about the people.

There will be free refreshments served at 6:15 p.m., and the screening will begin at 7 p.m.

The project is based off the award-winning 2009 project of the same name. It is a student-authored website that uses multimedia storytelling to explore the impact of mankind on the Galápagos Islands.

“Our project provides students with a unique opportunity to tell stories that can have a real impact on viewers’ understanding of the islands,” said Pat Davison, photojournalism professor and executive producer of the project.

The 2012 edition of the website will launch in early May.

Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief, CEO and president of ProPublica, will speak at UNC on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in Gerrard Hall.

He will give the Reed Sarratt Distinguished Lecture through UNC’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and his talk is titled “From Mainstream Media to a Non-Profit News Startup.”

He gave a lecture in Toronto in 2010 on the founding of ProPublica:

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ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that focuses on investigative reporting:

Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

The lecture is free and open to the public.