As an unexpected follow-up to my post from yesterday, on multimedia reporting of the one-year-on point from the Haiti earthquake, I’ve spent this evening exploring an extraordinary multimedia interactive, Inside the Haiti Earthquake, which I came across via a colleague and the excellent blog Social Media 4 Good.
Using real footage and photography from Haiti, shot over the last year, it attempts to place you in the midst of the disaster. Sounds like a car crash of bad taste, right? Well, read on…
The viewer is asked to choose between being a humanitarian worker, an injured survivor or a journalist covering the event. You’re then prompted to make decisions about how to react to a variety of scenarios, and what you choose to do can have impacts on the other roles in the interactive.
This treatment raises an enormous number of questions – not least whether is it exploitative, ethical or educational? However, it’s been exceptionally well produced, by professional multimedia journalists, and questions the media’s role in reporting on disasters at the same time as being part of that reporting. It could clearly be huge of huge educational value – it does go to some lengths to explain humanitarian principles, and even attempts to dissect the ‘cluster system’, and comes packaged with a range of contextual resources. They’ve also published a lot of the photography on Flickr under a Creative Commons license.
It was produced as part of a Canadian TV documentary collaboration with the Canadian Red Cross, that was already being planned before the earthquake and really is quite an impressive undertaking. I can’t quite begin to get my head around it (though I give this kind of thing a lot of thought over the last couple of years, and have blogged about previously). I think I need to dwell on this one some more, but if you’re at all interested in humanitarianism, development, disaster response, photojournalism or multimedia, then I definitely recommend you check it out. It’s food for thought indeed.