The Land: Covering Religion in Israel and Palestine
Indrani Basu, Jihii Jolly, Kali Kotoski, Saman Malik, Lisa Malykhina, Teboho (Poppie) Mphuthing, Evan Simko-Bednarski, Harry Stevens
“The Land” is an online platform showcasing the print and multimedia works of the Covering Religion class of 2014. As part of the seminar, the class covered a variety of religious communities in New York, and then traveled to Israel and Palestine for an 8-day reporting trip. Our deadline stories and features (yet to be published) integrate print with multimedia elements, including photographs, audio and video stories.
In line with current media trends, we chose an image driven design for our main online platform, supplemented by a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (embedded on our website). In addition to driving traffic to our site, our concentrated social media effort attracted the attention of local journalists and contacts, bolstering our reporting efforts in the Holy land. An Al-Jazeera reporter based in Palestine reached out to us over Twitter, and several students were able to coordinate a meeting and tour Ramallah, an outing not originally on the itinerary.
While traveling abroad, the editorial and web teams had nightly deadlines to publish Daily Dispatches and Photos of the Day. We operated on a tight schedule with a collaborative editorial vibe you’d see in any newsroom. But instead of meeting in a conference room, our discussions took place in the back of the tour bus, in cafes in Nazareth and in the old city courtyard in Jerusalem.
We believe our approach to building the site was especially innovative because we designed it to be a real-time portfolio of sorts, to ensure that despite the time restraints we we reporting under, our viewers could enjoy the content (which dealt with dense, historically significant contexts) at an appropriate and enjoyable pace. Thus, we aimed to combine on-the-ground reporting and time-sensitive journalism with the slow, visually immersive design of a photographer’s portfolio.
INNOVATION SHOWCASE 2014 • MAY 12TH & 13TH, 6PM – 8PM • COLUMBIA JOURNALISM SCHOOL