The April DFMie for the Texas/New Mexico cluster honors the El Paso Times photo staff for its coverage of the demolition of two landmarks.
The nomination from Editor Bob Moore explained the coverage:
In one weekend in April, demolition crews destroyed the two remaining Asarco smokestacks, the last remnant of the copper smelting industry that played an important part in the city’s development, and City Hall, which was taken down to make way for a new AAA baseball stadium. It was a competitive story, with local TV stations going live to cover the demolition. But the El Paso Times photo staff owned the event, capturing the history in the making in both still photos and video. It was visual journalism at its finest.
Judges praised the coverage:
My vote is going to the ElPasoTimes.com for the downtown baseball park coverage. In terms of journalism, the topic has a wide impact, and I really appreciated the well-rounded way the Times covered it (the planning stages, demolition and lawsuit). In terms of digital skill, it’s clear the photo staff put a lot of time and effort into video and slide show production, and the special section page shows an understanding of the magnitude of the topic in the El Paso community. As for community engagement, this Facebook post made me smile, and even I really liked the ‘name the team’ link. Even though that was an engagement project from outside the Times, the staff embodied the spirit of sharing by posting the link. For community service, I think this also hit some important notes — people who saw the building implode would want to know why and tax payers would want to know where their money was going. Kudos!
My vote goes to the photo staff at the El Paso Times for their coverage of two events that drastically changed the look and feel of their community in one weekend. Looking at this coverage as an outsider, the powerful photo essays of the demolition of the Asarco smoke stacks and the City Hall building best captured what it must have felt like to witness those events. In the Asarco coverage especially, I could feel the sense of community, loss and even heartbreak as people watched a part of their home forever changed.
As an example of digital journalism, this one clearly stood out among the rest. The photo galleries also were easy to navigate. The videos of each demolition were especially mesmerizing.
Congratulations to the El Paso Times staff for showing us that visual and digital journalism can be emotional, community-minded and immersive.
The event was covered from a variety of vantage points by the staff of the El Paso Times to give it an in-depth look at an event obviously viewed by an entire community.