In the journalism industry, this story is what every story strives to be. It was an early example of how to keep people interested in your story, as a journalist, on the web.
Feast your eyes on the New York Time’s Snowfall.
It’s a 2012 story written by NYT reporter John Branch, who chronicles a 2012 avalanche in Tunnel Creek in Washington state. The natural disaster happened when 16 of the top free skis and snowboards in the nation started a run at Tunnel Creek section of the Cascade Mountains. Three were found dead while the others escaped with minor injuries.
Branch’s reporting is seamless, detail-oriented and deep. He interviewed the survivors, their families, those working on the mountain range at the time, the rescue team, various scientists to understand how the avalanche even happened.
He employed the help of ingenious graphic designers, web designers, videographers, and—I’m sure—countless editors to form this six-part multimedia series that transports readers to 2012 when the avalanche occurs. His reporting makes you feel like you are an armchair traveler along for the ride. The story plays out like a movie in your head when you read it.
As a journalist starting out in the field, I think a story is good when the multimedia adds to the already well-reported and written story. “Snowfall” does just that.
Some of my favorite galleries in the story are the ones of the widows of the three men who were killed during the excursion. Readers see through photos the women have submitted and those taken after the tragedy by an NYT photographer how these women’s lives have changed because of this disaster. More importantly, it shows the stages of life and how you go on living despite life’s hardships.
Hearing and seeing the eyewitnesses speak about the avalanche is chilling, and the producers of this story knew that. They took the most emotional and juiciest bits and put them together so that when the story reached a suspenseful part, a video added to the suspense, and readers received the full emotional roller coaster of the 2012 avalanche.