How can you effectively convey the scope, and the human tragedies, associated with a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey? Last week, in the middle of all of its traditional coverage, the digital edition of The New York Times had one of the most effective, and frightening, infographics I have ever seen.
Please, take a moment and look at it. Each red dot is a rescue. Each dialog box contains the words off an actual emergency call.
Even as coverage of the impact of Hurricane Harvey continues, news organizations have a responsibility to look beyond today’s headlines. The Nieman Lab at Harvard has posted a fascinating study of ways to cover ongoing climate change with urgency and creativity. Audiences think they have “heard it all before.” Journalists have to convince them that they haven’t. That takes skill and “smarts.”
Sticking with the Nieman Lab, which is a great journalism resource, Time magazine, one of the great institutions of 20th century American journalism, is fighting to remain relevant (and in business) in the 21st century. Nieman tells the story of one common-sense technique to engage audiences by getting them to participate in the fact-finding process. Something as simple as an online survey can pay big dividends.
One of the mainstays of the news business are “follow-up” stories. You might remember an item I wrote awhile back about the new partnership between NBC News and Snapchat. The goal is to reach audiences that traditional NBC News programming don’t. Axios reports that the early results are impressive, as the daily news program NBC distributes via Snapchat — which does not look, or sound, like anything else NBC does — seems to be a resounding success.
Friday was graduation day for the 8-week Summer Session students. They leave having created some impressive stories, as well as developed and deepened a wide range of production skills. One graduate had a job interview before she graduated. That says a lot about how hard our students work.
Instructor Zack Baddorf continues his “sabbatical” in central Africa. Currently he in Kaga Bandorio, which he describes as “a town held by rebels way out in the bush in the Central African Republic.” Zack is shooting video for the International Rescue Committee, which is fantastic organization. He is documenting health, child soldier reintegration and women’s socioeconomic activities in a place where it is brutally hot, and not enough power for a fan let alone an air conditioner.
Which is a good excuse to go whitewater rafting on the Nile…
The Weekly Update is briefly going on hiatus, as I am going to China where I am wrapping up my on-camera work for a cultural documentary series, shooting material for another documentary project, as well as representing NYFA. (In fact, as you read this, I am likely on the very long plane ride from New York.) The Weekly Update will be back on September 18.