The Waypoint team

The Washington Post, USA

The Waypoint team

2017, 2nd prize stories,

At the height of the European refugee crisis, more than half a million people risked their lives in small boats and uncertain seas to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to the island of Lesbos, Greece.

To help expose the humanitarian plight to its readers, The Washington Post sent a small team of multi-platform journalists to explore innovative ways to bring audiences greater insight into their ordeal. Samuel Granados, senior graphics editor, led the team’s effort to create a digital narrative that would immerse the viewer in the journey and peril experienced by those refugees and migrants. Zoeann Murphy, a video journalist who had spent more than a decade documenting refugee issues, led the video storytelling effort. And London bureau chief, Griff Witte, who had previously reported on the unfolding events on Lesbos, led the print narrative focusing on the island and its dynamics.

Together they gathered a wide range of conventional and non-conventional visuals and testimonials from families, aid organizations, and locals on the island. In addition to filming, photographing, writing, and recording natural sounds, they gathered materials made by the refugees and migrants themselves including photographs, illustrations and cell phone footage.

Back in Washington DC, the team worked together to shape the story and design the interactive. Kevin Schaul, an award-winning visual journalist well versed in digital design, built the backend of the pioneering new storytelling platform, where the user can choose the depth of his own experience in the story. Kat Downs, Washington Post’s graphics director, and Emily Chow, assignment editor, edited the piece. The resulting project, The Waypoint, became a template for future major enterprise collaborations between departments at The Washington Post and helped pave the way for more innovation and engaging storytelling.

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