Category Archives: Use of Multimedia (old)

This category recognizes excellence in the use of multimedia in specific project work. Entries are judged on interface usability and use of various multimedia as a storytelling tool. Submit a minimum of three (3) and maximum of five (5) URLs to constitute a single entry.

The birth of a song

Dozens of Quebec artists sang about their neck-of-the woods, thus creating some their most beautiful songs. Thanks to La Presse, we can add another one to the list.

It rather rare for a written medium to be the genesis of a song that now plays regularly on the radio, but this is exactly what happened last summer when La Presse, set out to celebrate the national holiday. A contest, along with a report spread over six months, readers were invited to contribute by submitting a song about their city, town,village or region.

Popular Québec singer and songwriter Vincent Vallières accepted to set the winning lyrics to song. By mid-april, already 700 submissions were received, a team of journalist then selected the top six. Vincent Valliières picked his favorite amongst them and recorded it in a La Presse funded studio session.

That was the sole prize of the contest, and the song, “le desert habité” was born and inspired the winner, François-David Prud’homme, to pursue a songwriting career.

La Presse readers were able to read about the creative process all along (the part of the story we are here submitting for your consideration). As well as the contest, there was a report on the local that inspired the song, which we included as PDF file to give you a general idea, but not as a contest entry since it was not written by a journalist.

Cyperpresse visitors were able to listen to the song via an interactive jukebox -which required colossal efforts from our staff- And through it, they were able to hear exerpts from all submissions.

(To hear the song: then click on the red stripe reading “AUDIO” in the middle column.

Six months latter, Vincent Vallières still continues to sing the song in his stage shows and the song also gets significant airplay on the radio. Readers were able to follow the entire process from A to Z. And the musical landscape in the province got a ltitle richer.

This post was submitted by Caroline St-Germain.

I-81: Fear, facts and the future

The highway that links Western Virginia evokes high emotions because of its heavy truck congestion. One in four vehicles is a big rig. In this special report, we examined the safety, impact and future prospects for I-81.

In reporting this series, we drew on tools that we hoped would convey the gravity of the problem, give it historical context and allow the public ample opportunity to comment and offer their ideas.

For our accident data mashup (image below, titled “Fatal crashes on I-81: 1998-2008” at, we began with 11 years’ worth of state accident data on I-81 in Virginia. We then merged that with a database we had created in-house by combing 10 years of newspaper accounts of accidents along the I-81corridor in Virginia. The final mashup allowed us to layer narrative detail on an otherwise dry official police account. The layering of the two databases allowed our audience to see how often trucks were involved in the 266 fatal crashes during that time. It’s easy to get lost in the details of individual crashes, with names and circumstances attached.

The other map on the homepage (, called “Highs and lows: Elevation and crash data,” allows users to see the road from a different angle than usual. Set against elevation data, the interactive graphic tracks crash data, injury stats, speed limits, and a handful of other factors that collectively make the road feel more treacherous than it might otherwise be.

Paired together with an overview video (, photo galleries, a timeline of the road (on the sidebar of this page: and an ongoing discussion throughout the series, we hoped to tell a complete story of the subtleties and immense grey area that surround the very emotional topic of driving I-81 with the most appropriate tools available.

Entry Link: (for additional links, see above)

i81_homepage.pdf (1007 KB)

This post was submitted by megmartin.

Apart from War

Starting in late May this past summer, our team of 10 student journalists bedded down for six weeks in a bunkhouse at a dude ranch in rural, northeastern Washington state.

Nine members of this student team were from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. The other was a News21 “visiting fellow” from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. Newhouse departments in the print-online, broadcast, graphics and photography majors were represented on the Newhouse team.

The Newhouse team’s mission: Get to know the community of war veterans that saturates this countryside. Our question: What are the consequences of war, as experienced by a tight-knit and classic small-town, all-American community? Why did we come here in particular? Because going back for years, this serene and beautiful setting has been a refuge for hundreds of Vietnam vets who’ve lived here “off the grid” and away from it all, trying to forget some memories, make sense of others. And it’s also a source for many of today’s soldiers; high-schoolers with limited opportunities still do see the military as a career choice and a way out. What might these young men and women now heading off to Iraq and Afghanistan tell us years from now, decades from now? Will anything change? Will old themes be replayed? Will we learn?

We know the consequences of war, to some extent. We can list many: PTSD, drug addiction, divorce, chronic unemployment — even criminal activity and suicide. We found much of this here, as we suspected we would. But we also developed an understanding of this complex topic, through the people we met and got to know from investing a month and a half in the work. We thank them for teaching us, giving us an opportunity to learn.

We wish the same for you as you meet “Jerry” and the other Vietnam-era “mountain men” who populate the hills and mountains around Republic, Chesaw and Tonasket. As you meet Ryn and Adam , high-schoolers heading off to war. As you hear the voices of the friends and family of Marine Chad Olson , who took his own life and his wife’s less than a year after returning from Iraq. We also talked with wives , mothers , children , aunts and uncles and others — the families left behind.

Additional URLs include:

Entry Link:

This post was submitted by Jon Glass.

Crisis Guide: Pakistan

Pakistan represents one of the world’s most troubling states in crisis. It is home to an array of terrorist groups that pose threats to international security and, increasingly, to Pakistan itself. It possesses a nuclear arsenal of about seventy to ninety weapons that is rapidly growing, and in the wake of growing instability, could become vulnerable to militants. Bordering a conflict-ridden Afghanistan and poised on a seemingly permanent war footing against India, what happens inside Pakistan’s borders matters deeply to the region and the wider world.

CFR’s “Crisis Guide: Pakistan” traces the evolution of Pakistan and the competing internal and external influences that have contributed to regular upheaval and stunted political and economic development. The Guide combines audio, video, and interactive features to break down the current state of affairs in Pakistan and provides historical context to better understand the root causes of the crisis.

Users participate in the interactive experience, navigating through six chapters of multimedia content: a video overview, a three-part timeline, an interactive catalogue of domestic issues, a map of Pakistan’s rough neighborhood, expert video analysis, and finally, a list of resources for further inquiry. Viewers decide for themselves how to interact with the content. Some may navigate linearly, while others may jump from chapter to chapter, only viewing the elements that are of interest to them.

Crisis Guide: Pakistan differs from traditional international coverage in that it is a piece of “living” content, regularly updated as developments occur, and is a distinctive Internet resource: intelligent yet accessible, deep yet interactive. The unique storytelling techniques used in this feature make it extremely accessible for such a complex subject. For these reasons, we at believe Crisis Guide: Pakistan is worthy of a Best of Digital Design Award.

This post was submitted by Hagit Bachrach.