As we approach April 15, a day that will mark the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, it seemed appropriate to examine a package the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published on Sunday. Featuring eight photos, two videos and a lengthy story, the overall piece makes for one of the most ambitious multimedia projects I have ever seen from the paper. To see it for yourself, click here.
Reporter Maria Sciullo’s roughly 2,800-word-long story is extremely impressive. She recounts interesting yet scarcely known details of the ship, its sinking and the rescue of some of its passengers. Her piece is filled with facts, but it also incorporates a tremendous level of detail, the type of which you hope to see in a story such as this one. What’s more, she ties the chronicle of the Titanic to the Western Pennsylvania region, personalizing the calamity in a way people from the area just aren’t used to.
To accompany Sciullo’s story, the Post-Gazette ran alongside it a video produced by Steve Mellon. The video is so well-made that I wasn’t sure until the end credits appeared whether it was produced by a staffer at the newspaper or a company that specializes in making mini-documentaries. Whereas the written story features immense depth and many individuals, the seven-and-a-half-minute-long video focuses on the personal account of Charles M. Hutchison, a prominent architect from the Pittsburgh area. Hutchison was aboard the Carpathia, the ship that scooped up hundreds of Titanic survivors hours after the so-called unsinkable ship began its descent downward.
In her story, Sciullo mentioned Hutchison and where he fit into the narrative of the Titanic. As such, there is some overlap between the article and the video, but not much. My main issue with the package centers around the other video, a movie trailer advertising the re-release in theaters of James Cameron’s Titanic in 3-D. It’s unclear whether the Post-Gazette received any money for posting the trailer, but either way its presence comes off as corny and out-of-place. And if the paper ran the video for free, I believe this seemingly minor issue could be construed as a major one.