A look at the investigative reporting of the fatal Las Vegas strip construction
In 2006, Las Vegas was in the beginning stages of the $32 billion expansion on the Vegas strip. The expansion was noted by the Las Vegas Sun to be the largest private commercial development in U.S. history. Beginning in late 2006, over the course of 18 months, 12 on-site construction workers have died from work related instances. The first time that I had heard about this, along with several of my classmates, had been last week when it was introduced to us for our midterm.
The package of different multimedia capability that the Las Vegas Sun has produced affects not only the emotional but in-depth factual quality for readers. The opening page of the Construction Deaths package is made up of three different options to start your journey through events leading up and following the deaths of the construction workers.
The three links presented include an interactive map of accidents on the strip, a video and a pictorial slideshow. The links offers several ways a reader/user can cater to their learning styles thus presenting a favoring case as to why online media can be more beneficial than print for audience control.
According to the textbook Online Journalism by James C. Foust, several techniques give online journalism more of an advantage over the traditional form of print journalism. On Sunday, March 20, 2008 at 2a.m., one of now highlight archives, a posting of the first information on the matter was present to the general public via the Las Vegas Sun online. This goes to show that the time and place of retrieving the story can be instantaneous compared to the counterpart, print.
As investigative reporting around the Construction Deaths case continued by the Las Vegas Sun, it created large-scale audience participation from federal officials. Sen. Barack Obama, Hilary Clinton and Ted Kennedy wrote to President Bush to enforce a safety reform to the Labor Department.
The nonlinearity organization of the information makes it easily accessible to continued information that makes the internet an easy resource. The nonlinearity of this story makes one dive deeper into a personal investigation of what was happening at the works site.
The video for this story package exemplified extensive background research and time commitment. Through learning various techniques of multimedia and digital photography from my classes this semester this video incorporated a considerable amount of media techniques. This video presented different facts than the original page story.
It illustrated the story through photographs, parts of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration documents, recordings of a phone call with Steve Holloway, executive vice president of Associated General Contractors and other forms of multimedia.
One of the most impacting moments of the video was when the reporter asked a worker, David Rabun, why he was working on a specific construction site and he stated he wanted to work there because that is where his died. He said that he wanted to see what it was like on-site and what his son endured for working conditions. I do not understand how someone could go work for the same place that had essentially killed my child, but that was moving.
The user-generated content of other blogs and videos surrounding the case were linked from the original page near the Highlighted Archives section, or articles that were seen as being important to the overall story. These examples were the only social media that I have seen through the research I have done on this story being utilized. The immediacy that users had through multiple media outlets encouraged them to continue their personal investigation on the case. Users did not have to wait 24 hours to read about the federal hearing; rather they could watch it immediately from a posting of a video of the official hearing.
I did not find any reports or mentioning the use of social media as an influencing factor. Granted this package was created several years ago, it could have been a pivotal moment to start something maybe no one had thought of before. The article mentioned that Senators had written the President for a reform, but how much of a bigger impact could it have been if the letters came from community members and the American public.
Prime example is that more than half of my peers had not of even heard about this story until a week ago. If we had seen campaigns trending on Facebook and Twitter, it would have potentially gotten more people involved to fight for safety of others. Having people stand up for something that might not affect them directly can make an impact on the overall outcome if what is seen as a consensus from the public.
This multimedia package was perfect for online usage. The internet allows us to have an unlimited space and so having those different options for viewing what was going on was appropriate for the circumstances. This type of story would have taken days and an ample amount of space in a print newspaper to explain the happenings, and the details would have been shorted. This example of Construction Deaths goes to show that the internet has a bigger advantage over print journalism in terms of storage and retrieval. Even after four years, I can still pull up the full investigation about the story.
The internet has defied contemporary journalism and challenges journalist the meaning of a “full report or investigation” on the story. The mediums that can be produced and copied on the internet are transforming journalism to more than just giving the facts. It is bringing that story to life and playing on emotions to activate response or action. I was surprised at how emotional I was over this story, especially seeing the photographs. It is amazing to see where journalism was four years ago and what it is today, what will they do next?