PAULINE’S PICKS: Visits a Jailhouse Artist on His Last Full Day Inside

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By: Pauline Millard

Photo slideshows are getting more and more sophisticated as newsrooms discover all that they can do with them.

Today I came across a photo essay on the Denver Post’s Web site about a jailhouse artist. 40-year-old Michael Wentz has been in jail for 22 years, and along the way he discovered that he had a true talent for painting. Post staffer Cyrus McCrimmon caught up with Wentz on his last full day in jail before transferring to a halfway house. Before leaving, Wentz had one last mural to finish.

McCrimmon took plenty of photos of both Wentz and his work, but the slideshow has added depth because there’s an audio interview with Wentz as he talks about his art, his life behind bars and his thoughts on the future.

A written story would have worked perfectly fine in this case, since McCrimmon should mostly be lauded for the access that he got to the Wentz, not to mention to the timing of it. But hearing Wentz talk about his own life and what he’s learned behind bars brings a lot more character piece, character that could only be conveyed online.

How has your paper used online to tell a story with strong visual elements? I’d love to see it.

Here are some of my past Picks: Shows Local Environmental Issues

‘The St. Petersburg Times’ Sheds New Light on Old Murder Uses Photo Gallery to Explain Global Iraq Troop Withdrawal

Dueling Car Coverage! The ‘Detroit News’ Chimes In With Its Dream Cruise Features

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