Mid Session Task 1: Analytical Look at Media Projects

Nuclear Nightmares: Twenty Years since Chernobyl, photography by Robert Knoth and reporting by Antoinette de Jong, is a powerful visual and text project which captures the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on the people who lived or lived in the radiated areas, as well as their children whom have had the effects of the event passed down to them, resulting in debilitating and life-threatening diseases.

The project is very interactive. It allows the user to explore it at their own pace by clicking on the ‘next’ button to maneuver the different photographs. The user can also get more information about the context of an image or get a direct quote from the subjects in the image by hovering the mouse over the photograph. These simple features make the project more personal as the user gets to know the humanitarian story about Chernobyl and the families that impact, rather than the highly documented environmental impacts. The project shows how the incident has greatly impacted on the generations that came after it.

The project links to sites that have more information about Chernobyl as well as to forums and a page where you can read the reactions of other users and their thoughts about the Chernobyl media project.

The creators of this project effectively use photography and text to convey a feeling that Chernobyl is this world that many people don’t know about. The black and white photography and the small quotes from those impacted evoke an emotional response, and you can’t help but feel helpless.In closing, this is a very powerful project which has had much success and exposure as it went viral via email and was exhibited at the UN in New York.

The Centre for Investigative Reporting’s project, Suspect America, is a animated video in reaction to the post 9/11 US government who have encouraged local police, private security and everyday Americans to report so-called “suspicious activity” that may indicate a security threat. This project is my least favourite project of the two analysed in this post today for various reasons.

The CIR’s project isn’t particularly interactive, thus it takes away the story’s ability to capture the audience and make them feel like they are a part of it or impacted by what the government is doing. However, as it is a short video, it does have a great potential to reach large audiences around the globe.

This video utilises animation to convey its ideas and whilst this can be a very easy way to articulate the story, it doesn’t have the same depth as the Chernobyl story. It lacks a sense of humanity.


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