Pulitzer Center Update

HOPE featured on Nieman Storyboard

Jacqueline Marino

Nieman Storyboard

Writing is part of the digital story: examples of powerful multimedia presentations that incorporate (not just link to) good nonfiction writing.

[Earlier this week, Jacqueline Marino wrote about the many words that often accompany multimedia stories on Interactive Narratives, a showcase of such work sponsored by the Online News Association. Today, she provides some examples of presentations that integrate writing into the storytelling.]

Annesha's daughter prays in front of the Altar in the backyard (Joshua Cogan 2008)

1. Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica

Even though The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting sent poet Kwame Dawes to Jamaica to write an article on HIV/AIDS for The Virginia Quarterly Review, Dawes's poems became the blueprint for the work of photojournalist Joshua Cogan, who retraced Dawes's footsteps, gathering visual stories for the incredibly moving multimedia presentation. "We used the poems because the poems also handed to the photographers and designers an emotional and visual series of ideas and images that they could vamp on and expand on in their work," Dawes explains.

One stop was "Hope's Hospice," about which Dawes writes:

These days, the language of death

is a dialect of betrayals; the bodies

broken, placid as saints, hobble

along the tiled corridors, from room

to room. Below the dormitories

is a white squat bungalow, a chapel

from which the handclaps and choruses

rise and reach us like the scent

of a more innocent time.

The people Dawes interviewed are inspirations for his poems, and readers can meet them through photographs and videos on the site. Dawes uses the first person, develops his characters and plunges his reader into the emotional lives of his subjects. He includes the symbolic details of everyday life, as well as various points of view of his subjects.