Crystal Clear An Interdisciplinary, Immersive-Learning Short Documentary About Water

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Adam J. Kuban
Sam Apsley
Halley Kissel
Ignacio Rodriguez
Natalie Sipes

Abstract

Arsenic is a known toxin—and it is in our water. But should it be a cause for concern?
Crystal Clear? Arsenic in Indiana’s Drinking Water explores this question, and the answer
may be surprising. This short documentary explains the origins of arsenic in our drinking
water supply and consults experts to identify its impact. Students enrolled in the class Water
Quality Indiana at Ball State University began producing the documentary in January 2019.
All the students involved had backgrounds in science, but none had prior media-production
experience. Expert interviews included in the documentary included Mark Elliot, from the
Hoosier Microbiological Lab; Jessi Haeft, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Ball State University’s
Department of Environment, Geology, and Natural Resources; and Bradley Hayes, M.D.,
a doctor affiliated with Indiana University Health’s Ball Memorial Hospital. Key takeaways
from the students’ aggregate reflections include: (1) their general underestimation of the time
and effort that goes into documentary production; (2) their acknowledgment of arsenic as a
naturally occurring toxin, but one that is not currently of paramount concern in regards to
Indiana’s drinking water supply; and (3) the noticeable increase in their own media literacy
as a result of this experience, which may have longer-term implications for these aspiring
science professionals.

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Article Details

Section
Technical Review
Author Biography

Adam J. Kuban, Ball State University

Department of Journalism

Honors College

Assistant Professor