Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

UF journalism students in Haiti are safe, trying to get home

Valerie Safiullin can finally get some rest.

He spent sleepless nights since Tuesday's earthquake in Haiti, worrying about his son.

Roman Safiullin of Fort Lauderdale, and Jon Bougher of New Hampshire, University of Florida graduate journalism students, went to Port-au-Prince Saturday to gather material for their thesis documentary film.

Family, friends and UF officials were anxiously awaiting word from them after the earthquake. Finally, some good news came Thursday: Roman and Jon were safe and on their way home.

It was a rare moment of happiness in a flood of miserable news emerging from Haiti.

At about 2 p.m., Safiullin called his father to tell him that he and Bougher were at the airport in Port-Au-Prince waiting for a flight, though they didn't know when they would reach the U.S.

"I heard his voice and I was ... relieved," he said. "I feel so tired after these two days."

He expected them to spend Thursday night at the crowded airport.

Roman's mother lives in Russia, he said, and had called almost every hour to check in.

The students' are shooting a documentary about Planting Peace, a nonprofit organization that operates four orphanages in Port-au-Prince, among other missions.

With communication difficult at best in Haiti, word that the students were safe took a circuitous route.

UF officials first got word from Aaron Jackson, the president of Planting Peace, who was in the U.S. at the time. Jackson got the news from a woman who spoke briefly by phone with Jackson's Planting Peace partner, John Dieubon, in Haiti.

The students were documenting Dieubon's work with underprivileged orphans in Port-au-Prince.

Jackson said the film project took the students to Haiti at least three times. The organization's four orphanages, which house about 40 children, were also unharmed by Tuesday's earthquake, he said.

"I'm very relieved," Jackson said.

The documentary institute, part of the UF College of Journalism and Communications, was a victim of multimillion-dollar budget cuts in 2008. Safiullin and Bougher are part of its final class, slated to graduate in April, said Churchill Roberts, the institute's co-director.

The institute will relocate to Wake Forest University.

Whether the students shot footage of the earthquake is unknown, Roberts said.

UF journalism students in Haiti are safe, trying to get home 01/14/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 10:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  2. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  3. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  4. Bucs probe how to fix deep-ball chances missed vs. Bears

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was only minutes after the Bucs had demolished the Bears 29-7 Sunday when quarterback Jameis Winston tried one final time to connect with receiver DeSean Jackson.

    QB Jameis Winston says he’s focused on the deep-ball chances to DeSean Jackson he missed in the opener: “We left a lot out there.”
  5. Rays journal: Ugly first inning dooms Andriese, Rays against Orioles (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Rays manager Kevin Cash said before Thursday's game that RHP Matt Andriese was among the pitchers who would most benefit from a strong finish to the season.

    Matt Andriese has a tough first: hits to four of first five batters, leading to three runs, the only ones he gives up in six innings