I've been critical of the Providence Journal's new web site, providencejournal.com - in particular, it's failure to do much in the way of adventurous visual storytelling. Creative use of photography and video is, in many ways, the hallmark of a strong web site. And too many media companies, the Phoenix included, have moved too slowly on this front.
But it's only fair to point out when the ProJo does well in this area, which brings us to today's video of Sgt. Derek Pelletier, an Iraq War veteran from Fall River, Massachusetts.
ProJo reporter G. Wayne Miller ably tells his story of valor and post-war trauma in the paper. But the video by John Freidah - interviews with Pelletier, his mother, and others - conveys an intimacy that is hard to capture with the printed word.
The video, if potent, is not terribly complex. It's simple - talking heads, some still photographs mixed in. Indeed, the paper has done work like this in the past - if generally shorter and less impactful. And it could, and should, do more. (What do I mean by more? Check out this "13 seconds in August" interactive feature on the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's web site, which chronicled an August 2007 bridge collapse that killed 13 and made national news; readers can scroll through an aerial photograph of the bridge and click on each car to read about, or watch video of, just about every driver caught in the collapse).
But the Pelletier video seems a hopeful sign. There is some real ambition and emotional weight here. We'll be watching.