The use of multimedia tools helped tell the story of the tragedy at Memorial Hospital in a way that writing alone could not. The combination of extensive video, time lines and pictures helped paint a vivid picture of disaster.
The schematic of the hospital was a brilliant touch. It’s deceptively simple, and it probably wasn’t even particularly difficult to obtain the layouts, but it enables the reader to imagine themselves in the story and makes it that much more real to someone who wasn’t there.
The attention to detail is also engrossing. Nothing seems to have been overlooked – “the dark pool of water rimmed with garbage crawling up South Claiborne Avenue in the direction of the hospital” probably came from an off-handed comment during an interview, but its inclusion helps create an ominous feeling.
I especially responded to the time line. There was something particularly stark about it that made the story stand out. Perhaps it’s the ability to see at a glance that this story lasts six days; as you read the sad story on days one and two, you already know that the trauma isn’t anywhere near to being over.
This presentation is a great example of the power of multimedia, and the Pulitzer Prize seems fitting.
– Laura Riess