Over an 18 month span 12 construction workers died while working on a $36 billion building boom on the Las Vegas Strip. In 2008 Las Vegas Sun reported on the construction deaths on the Las Vegas Strip in a multimedia package. There are many reasons why this multimedia package was so effective and won a Pulitzer Prize.
In chapter 1 or Foust, we learned about advantages of online journalism: audience control, time and place access, nonlinearity, storage and retrieval, unlimited space, immediacy, multimedia capability and audience participation. I think the Las Vegas Sun showed several good examples of these.
The story showed a good use of audience control. The user had more power to choose what information they wanted. In two segments (Construction Deaths and Accidents on the Strip) the user had a good amount of control because it had multiple options to choose from the sidebars. As the user you had the choice of which construction worker or building sites you wanted to know about.
Having the story located on the Internet made it easy to take advantage of the time, place and unlimited space. If it were in a newspaper you would be limited to how much space the story can take up and would only be able to access it in that one newspaper it was published in. Having it on the Internet allows the user to access it at anytime and almost any place. I tried accessing the story on my smartphone but it was hard to navigate.
Through good use of audience control you were able to tell the journalists designed the story in a nonlinear format. It allowed the user to access the story in any order, you didn’t have to read or use the interactive chronologically. Having the three key segments allowed the user to choose ones that interested them. They didn’t have to look at all three.
The arrangement of the story showed a great use of storage and retrieval. It stored a vast amount of information and made it easily retrievable. Each segment had the proper amount of information. It wasn’t overflowing in text. I was very impressed on how the Las Vegas Sun was able to create a memorable and moving story with a simple slide show, video and interactive. All three segments were able to tell the story in an effective way but showed it differently.
Through the different types of media (video, graphics, pictures and interactive) the Las Vegas Sun was able to create an emotional impact, add detail to the story and create a sense of imagery of how the accidents happened.
The video was able to create the emotional impact through the use of simple music and thoughtful words said by the worker’s loved ones. The video was needed because it showed the impact the deaths had. You wouldn’t be able to get that through the use of text. By using a video it showed audience participation because the people in the video were able to contribute more through stories they had about the construction workers.
The slide show was able to add detail to the story because you were able to analyze the picture and the caption. Instead of reading a regular online text format you could read the short captions and have a better understanding of what happened. It wasn’t information overload, it was clear and concise. I think the slide show was the most effective type of media in creating a mood to the story. You were able to analyze the picture for an unlimited amount of time and create a lasting impression. The pictures with the captions reminded me of September 11 stories I saw in magazines. The slide show was honoring and remembering the workers that died on the site in a respectful way.
The interactive created a sense of imagery on how the accidents occurred. I found this one to standout the most to me. I really liked how the graphics created an idea of how the deaths occurred. It created a strong mental image. I liked how in for each construction worker and area of the strip you got to read about an OSHA report and a follow up on that incident. Having those helped me understand the safety violations and the severity of these accidents.
The story had links to other stories related to the accidents below the story itself. It was good but had a lot of links and felt kind of overwhelming. I liked how they had links to biographies on the construction worker you clicked on in the interactive. The story is somewhat kept up to date but there aren’t any links to other articles after 2010. I would put yearly updates on the site. Overall I understand why this story is award winning and shows the advantages of online journalism.