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Best of the Web

Best of the Web

The annual World Press Photo contest is known as one of the largest and most prestigious international photography contests.  Since 1955, the contest has aimed to reflect trends and developments in photojournalism as well as encouraging the transfer of knowledge through the medium of photojournalism.

The World Press Photo organization has named the inaugural winners of the first World Press Photo Multimedia Contest.  Six winning multimedia productions were chosen  from more than 40 nominations.  Rather than an open call for entries, World Press Photo formed a nominating committee of recognized experts from wide-ranging backgrounds, including but not exclusive to traditional photojournalism.

One of the challenges World Press Photo found early on was simply figuring out the definition and criteria in judging the ever-evolving medium of multimedia.  Many consider multimedia in its infancy or at least early development.  It is a medium linked directly to technology, and as technology improves and becomes more accessible it becomes more of an integral part of multimedia storytelling.  Approaches in conveying the story are also part of the multimedia frontier, as some stories rely on tried-and-true, information-rich, deeply involved, long-term journalism and some explore more lyrical, nontraditional, narrative approaches.

The Home Front
The New York Times was awarded first place in linear productions for The Home Front. The story follows the drama of a soldier’s deployment to war and his children’s “deployment” to a new school and surroundings.  The two boys, Joey and Issac Eisch, struggle to adjust to a new school and living with relatives while their single father is deployed to Afghanistan. The Home Front is a thoughtful and emotional piece of multimedia that gets pretty much to the heart of the matter, portraying the emotional and human toll of a larger issue through the story of a father and his two sons.  The story is sweet, emotional and to the point.

A Year at War
The Home Front was part of a larger New York Times multimedia project, A Year at War.  A Year at War was an ambitious project to chronicle the lives of the Army’s 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division and its yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.  The depth of the reporting  ranging from feature videos, video shorts photography, multimedia and text stories is impressive, the level of intimacy and how close we get into the lives of the soldiers is what took this project to the next level.

Powering a Nation
Powering a Nation is another great example of journalism that uses the multiple facets of multimedia to report on an issue. Powering a Nation is a production of News 21, an initiative led by universities to create the next generation of news reporting.  Students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill explored energy usage in the United States with the intent of shedding light on one of the most pressing environmental issues today.  Powering a Nation allows users to enter and navigate the story from multiple angles; overview videos give context to issues ranging from oil spills to nuclear energy, video portraits give a glimpse at the lives affected by environmental issues, text stories give in-depth information about various issues, behind the scenes blogs show the process of reporting and interactive games to bring the user deeper into the story.  Powering a Nation placed second place in interactive productions.

Prison Valley
French journalist David Dufresne and Philippe Brault won first place in interactive productions for the immersive, interactive environment they created for their project Prison Valley.  Prison Valley brings viewers into an interactive world that explores Canon City, Colo., a town of 36,000 residents and 13 prisons. Registering at the front desk allows viewers to be immersed into a multimedia world that includes video, stills, audio and text wrapped in an interactive environment that allows viewers to create their own experience. The experience is pretty much a road trip through one of the most depressing places in the United States.

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