Photographer Craig F. Walker, with a team of editing and production support, has an incredible piece on The Denver Post Web site. For 27 months, the photographer and reporters followed Ian Fisher through recruitment, basic training, deployment to Iraq and eventually his return home from combat. (See the project here.)
This project has everything, video, fantastic photographs, outtakes and an organized Web presentation. This is the way newspapers should do projects.
What impressed me most about the production is that after even a few minutes of being absorbed into the site, everything melts away into the background of a very interesting story. The strong images and well-edited video supports each chapter of Fisher’s story. It is the first time I have seen a newspaper take the time follow one person through this process, with unbelievable access, from beginning to end.
In 2004, I followed a group of National Guardsmen from Tennessee through training in Hattiesburg, Miss. To this day, it was one of the most fulfilling assignments of my life. The only thing better was when I had the chance to return to Hattiesburg in 2005 to cover their return. As each soldier – nearly 4,000 returning from a yearlong stay – stepped off the plane in Gulfport, Miss., I wondered how many of the heroes I had photographed the year before would not be returning.
My only regret is that I was not able to go with them. Families of the soldiers I had been covering looked to me and the newspaper to keep them informed on their loved ones – or at least it felt that way. Once the 278th left the country, I felt powerless.
So why should you know Ian Fisher? Because although his story is unique, he is not alone. The Denver Post did what I wish I could have done: told the whole story.
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