December 2019 - April 2020
Horizon Interactive Awards Magazine/News/Blog Website: Best in Category
Horizon Interactive Awards Travel & Tourism Website: Gold Medal
College Photographer of the Year Multimedia Online Storytelling: Silver Medal
Society for News Design Digital Storytelling: Third Place
Belize is home to a multitude of natural wonders, including the world’s second largest barrier reef. But climate change threatens to change the country’s physical and cultural landscape. Barriers is a multimedia journalism project that explores how Belizeans are fighting to protect their home and communities.
Every spring, students from the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media spend 10 days abroad creating an in-depth, multimedia journalism project. Working in teams that combine writers, photographers, videographers, and interactive designers, students create a website and series of stories that tackle a topic of importance.
In March 2020, just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, our team travelled to Placencia, Belize, to document how climate change has affected communities throughout the country.
We might have been in Belize for just a week and a half, but our work on this project lasted far longer. In months leading up to the trip, we had to figure out what we would do when we arrived—where we would go, who we would talk to, and what stories we could tell. The project’s interactive team, which I was part of, also had to begin designing and developing the website that would host our stories.
On site, we broke into story teams that each tackled a distinct topic (you can read more about my team’s story here). All the while, we were designing and coding, writing and editing, interviewing and photographing. When we returned home, we continued working (albeit in quarantine) for another six weeks.
Barriers offers a look at the people in Belize—from Mayan chocolate makers to seaweed farmers—who are fighting to maintain their livelihoods and culture. Each of the project’s five stories includes a longform article, a short documentary, a photojournalism piece, and an interactive feature. Barriers has won numerous journalism and design awards from groups such as the Horizon Interactive Awards and the Society for News Design.