“Snow Fall” from the New York Times was a very interactive read. Not only did the writing put you right in the place of an avalanche (and terrify you, so good job at the descriptions, NYT) but the multimedia and research helped heighten the article as well.
Three moments of effectively delivered research:
- I’m a big fan of using historical research (duh, who isn’t?) but really, I think it adds a unique and timeless element to writings. Basically, history repeats itself. So discussing the wreckage from an avalanche in 1910 aided this article well. It helped give some backstory to the mountain.
- It’s easy to write about something you love, but you have to understand that not everybody loves it/even knows about it. So there’s explaining it, and then there’s explaining it for the common person to understand. I could go on about the things I love with so many details and just get so into it…however, that doesn’t mean other people will catch on and fall into that same state of mind. So you need to explain in a way that’s easy to understand, yet you won’t bore the reader. I’m not into skiing, but the description of what it is, how it works, and the do’s and don’ts was a great addition to aid in understanding the appeal (and dangers) of skiing.
- Facts. Facts always help. I don’t really hear of avalanches happening too much and if I do, I probably picture half of the terror and chaos that it actually is. So when the article went on to say how before 1980 it was unusual to have more than 10 avalanche deaths in the country, it started to give me a bigger idea about avalanches and their power. The comparison between the generations of skiiers also helped.
Three moments of using media to achieve a storytelling effect:
- Probably the most obvious, but it’s really cool so I gotta mention it. “Saugstad was mummified”. Right there, you can click play (as that sentence is highlighted) and immediately a video on the side begins playing of Saugstad recalling the events. She’s talking about what was exactly happening at that moment in the article. A lot of people will just slap on a video of like an interview with the person the article is about or maybe a featurette of it on some TV show or something…but no, this was just about that sentence and the events in the paragraph prior. You didn’t need to skip. As I was already drawn in by the sheer chaos of the events described in the paragraphed, this just kept it going. Everybody loves stories, and having the storyteller right there was quite a nice addition to the piece.
- I don’t ski, I’ve never been on a mountain with snow on it. So yeah, getting the picture in my head from other pictures of other mountains and videos is nice, but actually seeing what it truly is definitely helped.
- When I read “hippie pow run” I had no clue what that meant. And thankfully, the writer anticipated that. So, having a video to play alongside this “hippie pow run” sentence really helped me figure out what’s so special and great about this certainly dangerous, but apparently amazing, part of the mountain.