Blogging Is The New Black

by mdeziel

This is a shamefully delayed update, but I’m hoping it will shed some light on why I’ve been so delinquent in updating in the first place.

This, my friends, is the fruit of four+ weeks of heartfelt labor by myself and my team. It went live a little over two weeks ago, and it has been the object of my attention for nearly two months:

Women Inmates: Why The male Model Doesn't Work

Click the image to see the full experience on NYTimes.com

It’s a lengthy, multimedia piece about women’s experience of incarceration, created by our team, T Brand Studio, in partnership with Netflix for the launch of Season 2 of Orange Is The New Black. The 1500+ word piece is the result of more than 40 hours of reporting on my part, and the three-part mini documentary came was born from more than 60 hours of shooting and editing by our video team, including our awesome video director Kaylee King-Balentine. We cited government data and scientific studies, and we interviewed inmates, former inmates, researchers, prison employees and more. We pulled in a fantastic illustrator, Otto Steininger, to do the animations, and our in-house design team, including Michael Ryterband and Rachel Gogel, put their hearts and souls into assembling and beautifying the entire experience. We also had invaluable editorial guidance from Adam Aston, our Editorial Director, as well as countless hours of tireless work from our talented development team. Our project manager, Alex Casner, kept everything together from start to finish to ensure a polished and timely finished product. I’m sure I’m missing folks, but suffice it to say that this was a team effort, if one ever existed.

It was rewarding enough to see the piece finally go live after all our work, but the public response has underscored the pride. Digiday wrote a piece calling it the “Snowfall of native ads,” comparing it to the famous newsroom piece that forever changed multimedia storytelling at The Times. AdAge wrote an exclusive piece about the increase in production value of our team’s work, and a piece on New York Observer praised the piece as well. This detailed piece on CyberAlert broke down exactly why they thought this release was “one of the best pieces of sponsored content ever,” and this piece by media publisher Contently had some nice compliments as well. Two professors from the Missouri School of Journalism praised the piece (and some of our other work!) in this video panel on KBIA. Nieman Journalism Lab had a nice write-up that called me out by name, and (which my sharp-eyed media friend Liz McDonnell noted) has my name as a topic tag! But some of the best praise was the praise that came from inside our own building, including social media folks, editors and even our own media reporter, David Carr:

 

All in all, it’s been an incredible experience, and I’m so proud to be able to say that I worked with this team to help make it happen. Stay tuned for future updates about what our team is producing and, in the mean time, be sure to like T Brand Studio on Facebook and follow @TBrandStudio on Twitter so you never miss a thing!