This post is more of a provocation than an actual end of year “best-of” list. So I’m relying on you to help me fill in the gaps.
Inspired by the New York Times’ recent Snow Fall project, I asked my followers on Twitter to send me examples of the best multimedia journalism of 2012. I was looking for the kind of stories that could really only be told online because they brought together a diverse range of elements including some mix of text, video, audio, data and interactivity all in one package.
Here are the stories I’ve collected so far (in no particular order), but I know there are others. Add your favorite examples to the comments section.
New York Times – Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek
Stunning for both its design and how the elements worked together - text amplifying images and video, and video bringing life and depth to the narrative. Here is a great post about how they made Snow Fall.
Symbolia – A Newly Launched iPad Magazine of Graphics Journalism
Symbolia combines illustrated works of journalism with interactivity, audio and more. CJR described it as combining “the rugged hand-drawn texture of a 90’s zine with the investigative vigor and left-leaning politics of Mother Jones.”
Frontline – A Perfect Terrorist: David Coleman Headley’s Web of Betrayal
Made possible using new video editing and interactive technology from Mozilla, called Popcorn, Frontline took the documentary to the next level.
California Watch – In Jennifer’s Room
Poynter described this multimedia, living graphic novel as a powerful way to address tell a challenging and emotional story of abuse.
(CIR’s Cole Goins also recommended their mapped report on wait-times at veterans offices: http://cironline.org/reports/map-where-veterans-backlog-worst-3792)
NPR StateImpact – Boomtown
Boomtown is like an audio slideshow on steroids. The StateImpact team creating an engaging report that didn’t end at one website but branched out across a range of platforms and partners.
BBC – Superstorm USA: Caught on Camera
Made almost entirely of crowdsourced cell phone footage, this stunning documentary was a huge undertaking in combining critical journalism with massively distributed user generated video.
Cartoon Movement / Susie Cagle – Down in Smoke
Cagle’s cartoons are layers of journalism stacked and juxtaposed, creating powerful accounts of moments in time. Cagle uses Thinglink to layer audio over her images.
UPDATES and ADDITIONS (as suggested by people around the web):
ProPublica: How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare
ProPublica’s campaign reporting this year was a masterful mashup of interactive graphics, news apps, crowdsourced investigations and in-depth reports from around the US.
ESPN: The Long, Strange Trip of Doc Ellis
This piece was suggested by a few people as a great example of how photos, illustrations and more can be woven literally into the text in new ways. Here is some background from Nieman Lab on the ESPN piece.
Pitchfork: Glitter in the Dark
Like the ESPN piece above, this lovely Pitchfork cover story combines rich imagery with long-form text. The images seem to move, facial expressions responding to the text, and sometimes take over the whole page.
The Guardian US: America Elect!
This graphic novel treatment of the long US election rides the line between still illustrations and animation which is set to motion by the reader’s scrolling.