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multimedia journalism from the NYT: “Snow Fall” by John Branch

I have a librarian coworker, Liz, who always finds the coolest latest thing, and is expert at sending me articles (etc.) that will interest me. Recently, that was an article from the New York Times that blew my mind in a few different ways. For one, the story is striking: in February 2012 an avalanche in Washington state had tragic consequences for a group of skiers. The story of that day is told in this article in a structure that I very much appreciate. In a manner reminiscent of Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air (a book that started as an article in Outside magazine) and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm, journalist John Branch approaches his subject from various angles. He informs us on the science of weather and snowpack and how avalanches form; the latest trends in backcountry skiing; the biographies of the individuals involved. As a text article, it would be very impressive, and very moving.

But that’s not the full story on this story. As presented online, Branch’s article uses a variety of media: still images and animations, video and audio clips, computer-generated demonstrations of (for example) avalanche activity. And, as Liz points out, all the media are combined in such a way that, as one scrolls to read the article, it all flows and combines smoothly without distracting the reader. How many times have you seen this done the wrong way, where flashing images pull your eyes and/or mind away from the content you’re trying to access? I think I can say that this is the finest multimedia presentation I’ve seen online. Combined with the incredibly powerful story Branch has to tell, this is a unique experience you don’t want to miss.

And with that long introduction…



One Response

  1. […] Remember that very cool article I pointed you all towards several months ago? (Here.) […]

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