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Teaching Online Journalism

Explaining a disaster story

Here’s an unusual package from the Star Tribune in Minneapolis: 13 Seconds in August.

After a reasonably short, arresting intro video, the package proper opens with a sliding aerial photo of the entire length of the 35W bridge after its collapse into the Mississippi River. Each vehicle in the photo is identified with a number inside a circle (black ones mean there was a death). Click the number and, in most cases, you’ll see a video of the person or people who were in that vehicle. Even when there is no video, there is a brief text story.

You can easily scroll the bridge photo to view all of it.

Unfortunately, it seems that the Strib is rearranging things on their Web servers, and the link inviting people to share their (additional) stories is broken. There are also a couple of broken links on the credits page, which weirdly opens in a new window.

Local readers are quite impressed by the package and have been posting compliments on a blog set up for feedback. That’s a very nice add-on, working well. (I don’t mind that the comments blog opens in a new window. To me, that seems logical, whereas separating package credits from package does not.) It also serves as a fine counter-argument to all the critics who say readers post too much trash-talk when comments are allowed.


Categories: examples, multimedia, video


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