Sin Luz: Life Without Power team

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Sin Luz: Life Without Power team John McDonnell

The idea for Sin Luz: Life Without Power began when reporter Arelis Hernandez and videographers Whitney Leaming and Zoeann Murphy traveled to Puerto Rico and spent three weeks reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

As the longest power outage in U.S. history stretched on for months, the three pitched returning to the island a few months later to report on life without electricity. To create a story that had visual impact and emotional power, senior producer for video Reem Akkad, graphics director Kat Downs and senior editor at-large Ann Gerhart pulled together a team of 18 from across the newsroom to build an immersive multimedia experience.

That early collaboration allowed writers, videographers, designers and developers to work fluidly together on the storytelling.

Murphy worked in Puerto Rico’s mountainous region of Utuado to report on and film a teacher, nurse, and family living without electricity or running water. Leaming went to the coastal town of Yabucoa and brought back the stories of a small business owner and struggling student.

Hernandez, who has relatives in Puerto Rico, dug into local reports of desperation to find characters and played the vital role of putting each individual story into the larger context.

© Edwin Avila

The Washington Post’s Jorge Ribas and Seth Blanchard filmed dramatic drone footage of landscapes and mudslides. They then worked with Kolin Pope to render 3D models with photogrammetry, an innovative technology that offers audiences a new perspective on the devastation.

Designer and developer Emily Yount lead the interactive’s design and Armand Emamdjomeh and Lauren Tierney built beautiful maps and graphics to provide crucial context to the story.

Joanne Lee and Victoria Fogg designed icons, and Paula Duran Rehbien was critical in producing quickly a Spanish-language version of the project.

The team also included freelancers Hector Santos Guia, Joa Rodriguez, and Mardelis Jusino Ortiz.

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