A New Age of Walls

Published in The Washington Post, October 2016

A New Age of Walls

I was the lead editor and project manager on this 3-part series, which explained the rise of barriers worldwide as a means of preventing migration and providing border security. It explored their effectiveness and impact in a deeply compelling narrative that melded text, video and graphics in ways we haven’t tried before. My team led the field reporting in collaboration with foreign correspondents, and I led the editing team, which also included a video editor and the foreign editor.

Role: Editing, project management, storyboarding, prototyping

Awards: Malofiej International Infographics Awards Human Rights Best Graphics Award and Gold medal in features category; Gold medal in the Society of News Design digital awards; Finalist for a Webby award; White House News Photographers Association, First place in Best Multimedia Package; First prize in Innovative Storytelling in World Press Photo’s 2017 Digital Storytelling Contest, Emmy nomination in Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary, and OJA finalist in Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling

In the news:
Washington Post series on border barriers aims to break the mould of digital storytelling (Journalism.co.uk)
If you dream big, you can redefine the way we tell stories in the digital age (The Washington Post on Medium)

Peeps contest finalists

Video: Finalists in the Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest

Akira Hakuta created these videos about the five finalists in The Washington Post’s Peeps Diorama contest, which has some really creative entries this year. Videos feature The Mad Hatter, Korean War memorial, the movie Up, and “Goodnight Peeps.” I created the player, which is almost exactly the same as the Scene In player. Noel Smart designed the logo treatment.

Modern-Day Evolution

I heard on the radio this morning that you can actually choose the sex of your baby. Here’s an excerpt from WAMU’s Market Morning Report’s piece entitled “I’ll Have a Girl, Please”:

JENNIFER MERRILL THOMPSON: “I really, really wanted a daughter, and I knew that technology was probably the only way it was going to happen for me. And we didn’t want to keep having boy after boy. I didn’t want to have a huge family, so we were willing to spend the money to do Microsort.

It took Thompson about two years and over $12,000 to conceive Rachel using a special sperm sorting technology that’s still not widely available.

Richard L. Berke, assistant managing editor of the NY Times, is answering questions online this week about their front-page selections. It’s really interesting to see the way that he answers questions about bias in the Times and story selection.

AND for those of you who care, my job is great! I love it and it’s so exciting to finally be working. I love riding the train in the morning, walking downtown, all the ties and shoes and briefcases. All the business.

The Magic of the Three Ws

Today there are two items on the agenda. #1 – The magic of the Internet and #2 – The question of whether or not the Facebook has gone too far.

#1: The Magic
Today I went to check out Katie Couric’s first broadcast on YouTube, when I was distracted by a video called “Piano Tetris”, which led me to the video I have posted below. The video is by a person named “cutiemish”, who pronounces some words to show her accent. But the really amazing part of the broadcast is the request for others to send back videos with their own accents so she can hear them. There are several replies from various countries including The Netherlands, Canada, US, Australia, Sweden, and France. For me, this is absolutely amazing! People are so into YouTube that they will make a small video just to show something simple like how they pronounce words! And I have to admit that I watched them all and was delighted by the accents 🙂 Just another sign that the internet is changing our lives in a subtle yet powerful way.

#2: Has Facebook gone too far?
And I believe the answer is yes. Several Facebook groups have arisen with the introduction of the Facebook’s new feature, “News”. I mentioned it yesterday but I don’t feel that I did it justice given the outrage that the Facebook is currently experiencing. The anti-news groups have names like “Facebook has Crossed the Line” and “Students Against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook)”–yet, there are groups that are pro-news: “If you joined the petition, you don’t know about information architecture”–which argues that the Facebook gave you all the “news” to begin with but it was much harder to access (and we all accessed it anyway).

For those of you who may not be on the Facebook, a brief intro might be helpful. The Facebook is a networking site that originally was open to college students. It then expanded (quickly) to include high schools, cities, and now, workplaces. The last two networks are by invite only, unless you are already on the Facebook. The Facebook has capabilities for profiles, photo albums, bulletin boards, party invites, groups, messaging, blogging, and now– NEWS. In fact, I bet a lot of people are reading this post through the Facebook right now…

The “News” item basically changed the personalized home page to include news about all your friends. The news includes profile changes (i.e. Charles changed his interests to include streaking), new photos, new “notes” (or blog posts), group membership changes, pretty much anything and everything.

The real question here is how much do we want our friends to know? That we posted new pics? Yeah, sure they can know that. New interests? OK. That you posted “I’ve got a bottle of vodka down my pants” on Tina’s wall? I don’t think so. And so begins the protest. The thing is that the Facebook is already out there.. really curious friends (or stalkers, as some call them) could find what they were looking for anyway. It’s the normal friends we’re all worried about.. the people you haven’t seen in five years who never read your profile anyway or the guy you just met on the metro who oddly Facebooked you.. and you’ll never talk to or see again. I mean, I don’t want everyone knowing everything about me. Actually it kind of freaks me out that my blog is on Facebook — but I guess it drives traffic.

But that is the nature of the beast. Just like your friends can read all about you, so they say employers can too. A New York Times article from June tells about how employers use networking sites to screen employees. That is a little scary, because most of us (including me) have the obligatory drinking/smoking/dancing pictures posted somewhere online.. and some with not-so-appropriate comments from friends–which I love, but somehow I think that it wouldn’t help me get the job. I notice my friends taking their questionable groups (ones like “Vodka Makes the Party Start”) off their profiles, and taking any pictures that might include the aforementioned college behavior, just in case somebody (an employer? a new facebook friend from the office?) might see it.

Well I’ve made a decision about life on the internet, which is that it’s a little bit of professional and personal. Some people get the extended profile, and some people get the limited profile. And in my opinion, that’s just like life, where my real friends get the good stuff and my sort-of friends get some laughs and some fun. And so, I guess I am against the Facebook news feed.. because if you care enough to search it out, you deserve it. And let all the people who don’t want to know and who don’t care just keep moving on with their lives.

PS. Comments are welcome (on Blogger) because I’m not really sure if anyone is reading this.