Today the Las Vegas Sun ran a story that I’ve been working on in tight collaboration with reporter Alexandra Berzon. The story is about how nine construction workers have died in eight accidents since the end of 2006 at large construction sites on the Las Vegas Strip.
This is the first story I’ve worked on at the Sun where I felt like a true teammate with a reporter. That isn’t to say I haven’t worked well with other Sun reporters, I’ve had some great experiences with many of them on other stories. The difference was I was brought in to the story early enough to document and interview some of the contacts Alexandra was talking to, and to setup a recorder for phone interviews she was doing for the story. We had many conversations about the story. Some of the conversations we had were about the strengths and weaknesses of what each of the mediums we were working in could achieve in order to tell the whole story and communicate in the best way possible to our viewers/readers. Where Alexandra’s story could be more analytical and focus on the intricacies of the situation, I could focus on the impact and the emotion the accident’s had on the families of the workers killed.
The idea for the interactive came last, in fact I started building it on Thursday and finished it by Friday. It was a major challenge, not from a technical standpoint but from a design standpoint. The interactive was meant to breakdown each of the accidents by: where the accident happened; who was involved; why did it happen; what the OSHA report cited; and what happened after the report. As you can imagine, that is a lot of information to fit into an interactive that is 655px wide. The result is not the best interactive I’ve ever made but it does provide context and makes the information navigable.
When I pitched the idea for the interactive, Chris Morris, the Art Director, had already created infographics explaining each of the accidents for the dead-tree edition. All we needed at that point was a map, which Chris made. I love collaboration!
Needless to say, but I’m proud of this story. I’m proud of it not only because I think it’s an important story for our little town, but also because it came about from a really great collaboration in the newsroom. I also found out, by working with Alexandra, that she has worked a little in radio and knows audio pretty well. I jumped on that and got her a Marantz kit, and hopefully we’ll hear some audio stories from her on the Las Vegas Sun website soon!