Beyond 7 Billion

Third place for NPPA’s 2013 Best of Journalism was awarded to the Los Angeles Times for the multimedia package “Beyond 7 Billion”.  This package illustrates the effects that population growth will have on the world in the coming decades.  This piece is comprised of five separate articles, with each covering separate issues and containing their own photo slideshow.  This piece also uses video to help tell stories of how population growth is and will continue the affect the developing world.

The first of the five part series is titled “The Biggest Generation” and introduces the topic of population growth and explains how the worlds population is expected to raise to at least 9.4 billion by 2050.  This piece tells the story of an arranged marriage of a couple in India, and how even with a declining fertility rate in this country population is still expected to grow in coming years.

As with the first part in the series, the proceeding four parts each detail different obstacles that will be brought on by population growth.  These topics include the expected raise of youth uprisings in developing countries, under nutrition brought on by food scarcity, resource exploitation and environmental degradation, and religious and cultural barriers preventing modern birth control methods in some regions.

Each of the five parts to the package include a lengthy and detailed text component written by Kenneth Weiss.  Each individual article details an issues and provides data and historical information about the topic.  All of the articles are prefaced with a real life story about a person or family that has first hand experience facing these challenges.  The structure of these articles are well laid out because the storytelling in the beginning is captivating and adds a person perspective to each of the issues.

Within each article, there are several photographs that accompany the text.  Each article has its own photo slideshow as well.  The photography work is done in photojournalistic format by Rick Loomis who vibrantly captures the various prosecutions of this piece.  Each of Loomis’s photos makes use of layering to capture people within their environments illustrating their living conditions, their struggles and their cultures.  Each photo makes use of the foreground and background to tell the story.

In addition to the written text and photo slideshows, “Beyond 7 Billion” also incorporates video to document stories of the people  in these developing countries.  Video is also used to visualize statistical information with animated graphs and illustrations.

This multimedia piece conveys a lot of information and tells multiple stories by utilizing text, photos and video and does an outstanding job telling the stories of people who will be most affected by population growth in the coming years.


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