Photos by Alexander Garcia for Al Jazeera America.

Photos by Alexander Garcia for Al Jazeera America.

This five-part series took us across Nicaragua, examining the locations that would be affected by this project, potentially the largest earth-moving undertaking in history. 

My role included gathering sound and reporting out graphics, both of which are woven throughout this project. We used sound in multiple ways. When we looked over everything we had, we realized we had voices in multiple languages and we wanted to showcase them instead of simply translating them into text. 

We used a player I had worked on for a previous project. In the earlier piece, we had played a piece of instrumental music underneath a portrait. Because the music was instrumental, we had added quotes that played in time with the music. Instead, we used this feature to translate Spanish into English so that users could hear the voices of the people in the story. 

We also added sound to a full-screen gallery treatment for another project. This has since become a go-to for us at AJAM. We call this "immersive galleries." As the user scrolls into an immersive gallery, a short sound clip is triggered and ambient audio matching the images plays. For this project, I collected ambient sound with an iQ7, a smaller iPhone microphone. (We used thing over larger, more professional gear so we could be more discreet in our reporting.)

I also created a series of maps for this project. One map appeared along the bottom of the page (for all screen wider than 500px). The map changes based on the location of the story and serves to tell the reader exactly where in Nicaragua the story is being told, since the canal will go through the entire country. 

Other graphics included visualizing the amount of earth the developer, HKND, is planning to dredge from Lake Nicaragua; showing the scale of the container ships that would be using the canal; and showing the size of a proposed port in comparison with the adjacent indigenous village. 

This project won a 2015 "best news or event feature" EPPY award

 

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