Blog Post #3
“A Day on the Road With the Migrant Caravan” by Neil Collier, Emily Rhyne and Ainara Tiefenthaler from The New York Times
For the final blog post, I wanted to venture into an outlet typically recognized for its’ print journalism and see how they have adapted to multimedia journalism, so I chose The New York Times. The story I chose is titled “A Day on the Road With the Migrant Caravan,” by Neil Collier, Emily Rhyne and Ainara Tiefenthaler. I chose it because I was interested in finding a very popular news story and see how the Times portrays it as an atypical/unique multimedia story. The content of the piece is very relevant and fresh because the migrant caravan is still traversing central America and traveling towards the United States, which makes it relevant to the Americans watching the video. It is compelling because it is well-voiced since it features a woman and her family, who are a part of the migrant caravan. It is a clear story because it simply walks the viewer through a “day in the life” of a member of the migrant caravan and is complete because the story begins in the morning and ends at night. The source and story are credible because it features a real person in the caravan and tells her story. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, this story is valuable. I find it valuable because it gives a face to the movement — this giant caravan of people traveling towards the United States. Seeing a mass of people on the news is quite alarming, but listening to the stories of the individuals in the mass induces empathy in the viewer.
The visuals in this multimedia piece are very compelling. It brings viewers right into the “day in the life” of a migrant in the caravan by following the featured woman through her morning, dressing her kids; and through her day, walking for hours or sitting and resting or hitching a ride on a truck; and at night, when she sets up camp for the night. These all capture the most important actions of the story, since it is a “day in the life” and illustrate the story well. It obviously moves the story forward because it simply goes through a day from morning to night and. Shot composition is fairly good, with the correct exposure and in-focus shots most of the time. Many, if not most, of the shots are slightly shaky but I think that it adds to the story since it is following around the migrant caravan and it is not like there is a tripod set up somewhere. There are a variety of shots and it doesn’t look like many of the shots are repeated, and if they are, then they are still slightly different. The pace of this piece is appropriate, and I almost wish it was a little longer. Finally, these shots are very memorable. I know that I will remember this multimedia story in the future because I found it very compelling and well put together.
The audio in this piece is fairly good. It uses natural sound and ambient noise very well. The audio tracks do not seem to have a consistent volume due to the conditions that the video journalists were in, but in post-production I am sure that the editors turned up the volume during some parts. Also due to the conditions of the video journalists, the audio tracks aren’t always clear and without distractions, especially due to the natural sound in the clips. However, it all puts the reader into the story and I do not mind it at all. There is also parts where the editors utilized voiceovers, which were very compelling and met all of the standard criteria (volume, without distractions, etc.).
The organization of this piece was simple. It began at the start of the featured mother’s day, moving into why she was a part of the caravan, and continued until nightfall. This storytelling structure fit the piece well. The beginning draws viewers in and covers the necessary bases, and the pace and flow of the piece are appropriate following the introduction. The video has a clear focus and does not wander at any point in the story. The story translated very well from idea to execution and I can imagine that it would be quite simple to put together a short video like this. The video has a very clear ending, which was nightfall and the caravan stopping to rest for the night. The audio, visuals and words fit together well in the piece and are necessary, but are not distracting.
The writing and editing of this piece was, like the organization, very simple. It doesn’t appear to have evident factual errors, and the words superimposed, such as the Spanish to English translations on screen, have correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. The fonts for these translations are very readable. AP style is used where needed, such as in the voiceover, and are in simple broadcast style with active voice. Transitions are clear and clean, and they flow very well. The language of this piece is clean and understandable, especially since this piece is so simple. The length of the piece is appropriate, however, I do wish that it was a little bit longer. The length of time to see images, video, and written words are a pretty good amount, however, there were points where I wish the text-on-screen bits were longer. The quality of the video and audio compliment quality reporting.
There really weren’t any graphics in this video, besides the text-on-screen for the language translations. For these bits, the graphics utilized the correct tools to portray information. There were clear and user-friendly. They simplified complexity because it translated the Spanish to English and allowed viewers to understand what the migrants were saying. The translations were very complimentary to the other components of the multimedia story.
Finally, this story does not appear to overstep good journalism ethical boundaries. It is simply a “day in the life” and used the consent of a mother to follow her throughout her day. I love video journalism pieces like this because it highlights the stories of individuals others might not know about and humanizes something quite alarming, like the migrant caravan. It exemplifies one of the purposes of journalism — telling the stories of people who need their voices heard.