Saturday, March 01, 2008

Nick Garza and YouTube

Middlebury College student Nicholas Garza has been missing since February 5th and police have found NO LEADS as to where he may be. How can a healthy, well adjusted, highly intelligent 19 year old disappear into thin air?! And what can we do to help find him?

After weeks of scanning local news stories for updates and feeling totally helpless, I decided to make a video about Nick for Seven Days to post on YouTube. It is not my usual arts and culture fare and I was worried it might be ill received or possibly hurtful in some way to his already suffering family and the Middlebury College community.

Midd Blog writer Sarah Franco, the main person interviewed, spoke eloquently and compassionately about Nick and the current mood on campus as well as covering the basic facts of his disappearance. Thankfully, the family has been supportive of the video and are working very hard to get information about Nick into the national media.

YouTube was kind enough to feature the video on the main News and Politics page and in 4 days it has been seen 28,000 times by people all over the world. YouTube attention is always a mixed blessing, hits are good as it means Nick's picture is being seen by many, but there are always the occasionally creepy comments.

Most of these centered on whether or not the video is a hoax, a Blair Witch Project. Granted, it is not your standard news story but I am not a TV news reporter and I rarely do stories like this. My goal was to get Nick a presence on YouTube and to that end, I am satisfied.

As dark and dire as the world seems at times like this as the days tick by and no news about Nick's whereabouts surface, it gives me hope to read all the loving and supportive comments on his family's website (click Guest Book), his Facebook page and the Midd Blog.

Friends, family members, parents, college students, high school students, VTers, strangers - all take a moment to write a thoughtful, loving message, share a memory, pledge support and promise to never give up hope.

In this heightened technological age when people complain that we have lost the human touch and communicate only via computers, it gives me heart to see how tools like Facebook, YouTube and the internet can help us connect and lean on each other when we feel lost and helpless in the face of tragedy.

Reading these distant messages from all over the world gives me hope. At the very least, Nick is being thought of and prayed for and loved by thousands of people, some of whom have never met him but hope to one day.

Come home safe Nick.


LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I hope Nick's story ends well. Your video is great, and I think you might have another career option out there.

Q_Monroe said...

i've been thinking about him too. i hope he is warm.