MSNBC’s Geography of Poverty project is a highly visual multimedia package that examines poverty in the United States. As writer Trymaine Lee and photographer Matt Black traveled across the country, MSNBC’s director of photography Amy Pereira, graphics editor Mina Liu and data visualization editor Sam Petulla worked on static and interactive graphics to accompany the story. The package is broken into five geographical sections. Lee and Black visited more than 70 cities where more than 20 perecent of residents fall below the poverty line. The goal of the package was to document the struggles and triumphs of the people at the heart of these communities. Planning and smart design choices make this a powerful presentation.

One year before the project took shape, Pereira and Black began to lay the framework and scope. This planning critical because it ensured that the photographer, writer and producers all knew the central themes for each region. The Southwest and Northeast sections have unifying design choices, such as color palette and structure, but the content itself – including images, graphics and video – is specific to the region. While there is an overall sense of the national poverty rate, it is also clear that the nature and effects of poverty are different in each region.

Ultimately, the package tells the story not only of the people living in impoverished communities, but also the environmental injustices they must endure. Photographs and videos of abandoned schools, smokestacks, oil rigs and more not only establish place but also demonstrate the devastating effects of pollutants. Information graphics complement the images by providing clear scientific backing. The headshots of each region’s citizens show the physical and emotional toll of living in these communities. The culmination of each element helps build the overarching story of the struggles and triumphs of living in poverty.

Design choices throughout the package enhance the storytelling and the reader’s ability to understand the information. Matt Black’s photos have a distinct black and white style. The package complements the photos with its minimal color palette. This style helps the reader understand the bare and desolate environments that impoverished citizens live in. The use of interactive information graphics encourage readers to explore poverty data to understand this complex phenomenon. And simple videos provide depth and emotion, creating a strong connection between the viewer and the story.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 28th, 2015 at 9:25 am and is filed under PACKAGES. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.