Reports of the death of newspapers have been greatly exaggerated. Tomorrow’s fishwrap retains its role as today’s outlet for the stories unheard elsewhere. And while the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News won’t be producing any more projects such as “Final Salute,” other newspapers continue to produce in-depth, long-term journalism with significant visual components. This is remarkable, given how much budgets, staff sizes, and news holes, have shrunk in recent years. Two great examples have recently been published.
The Dallas Morning News’ exceptional “Choosing Thomas,” chronicles the story of T.K. and Deidrea Laux’s choice to bring their son into the world knowing he would die soon after birth. The piece will leave you in tears. Journalism this intimate and powerful is a rare thing, indeed. Be sure to check out the webchat with the Lauxes and Deidrea’s diary, both of which exemplify the possibilities of the web’s wide-open canvas.
The Denver Post’s “Ian Fisher: American Soldier” is breathtaking simply for its breadth. Capturing the life of one soldier from signing recruitment papers to boot camp to deployment in Iraq to the homecoming, the piece offers a whole picture of the American military with both depth and intimacy. In one sense, there’s almost too much to look through. I’ve only skimmed the photos…my internet connection makes futile any attempts at more intensive browsing. But the dedication to the story is obvious. This is what long-term visual journalism will look like in the coming years, and it’s great to see it’s already being produced.
And just because I don’t have a better time to bring it up, the St. Petersburg Times’ investigative look into the Church of Scientology deserves a look. Published earlier this summer, the articles offer an unprecedented look into the supreme weirdness inside the highest echelons of Scientology. Knowing how quick to litigate the Church of Scientology can be, this a bold move for a newspaper in uncertain economic times.
(and an aside: I wish wish wish all newspapers and magazines would use some standard method for displaying videos on their websites. Vimeo would be a great option, youtube would be an improvement over the mishmash currently used by newsrooms around the world. Brightcove is buggy for me even on the best of connections, and anything that doesn’t let me pause and load the whole movie and then watch makes me close the window. Grumble, grumble, grumble.)