There has been no American feature story more honored – or over-praised – than “Snow Fall” by the New York Times. I don’t want the key word in that last sentence – over-praised – to detract from the story’s historic achievement. It won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for feature writing; it set a standard for multi-media reporting at a time when we were wondering about the viability of that form of storytelling; and it attracted attention from far and wide, lending encouragement that journalism in the digital age has an exciting future.
Cheers to the writer, John Branch, to graphics director Steve Duenes, and to the team that created it.
Much of the original praise for the work was worshipful and, I believe, superficial. The dazzling visual effects were there for all to see and left potential critics, dare I use the term, snow-blind.
“Snow Fall” is many good things, but great storytelling is not one of them. Read more