J-school students’ stories about N.C. people win SXSW Interactive award

“Heart of the High Country,” a UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication student project that tells the stories of people in the N.C. mountains, won the 2014 South by Southwest Interactive award in the student category.

Winners were announced at the 17th Annual SXSW Interactive Awards ceremony, emceed by Nerdist News host Jessica Chobot, in Austin on March 11.  Watch two of the videos about North Carolinians below.

It is the third consecutive SXSW Interactive Award win for the school.

Three of the five finalists were projects by UNC J-school students. It is the fourth consecutive year that two or more school projects were nominated in the category that showcases “projects from student designers who are refreshing this industry with new talent and new ideas.”

“Heart of the High Country” was a product of the 10th annual Carolina Photojournalism Workshop in which students immerse themselves in a N.C. community and tell its stories in innovative ways.

They Will Rest High on the Mountain from UNC | Carolina Photojournalism on Vimeo.

The Humble Worker from UNC | Carolina Photojournalism on Vimeo.

Other UNC finalists included:

“Over Water Under Fire” — This Powering a Nation special report combines a video narrative with motion graphics and text to present the Colorado River as a living timeline of the nation’s relationship with water and to show how the river’s uncertain future echoes the state of water resources in the U.S.

“What Matters To Us” — Created by students in advanced and documentary photojournalism classes, the project tells the stories of hardship and hope in America’s recovery from the most recent economic downturn.

“These projects are a testament to the power of collaboration and to the culture at UNC, where students can bring an array of skills to a project, think conceptually about timely issues and then work together as a team to create work that pushes the boundaries and helps shape the future of journalistic storytelling,” said assistant professor Chad A. Stevens, who served as producer for “Over Water Under Fire.”

In 2013, “Living Galápagos” — an interactive multimedia website that explores the impact of mankind on the Galápagos Islands— won in the student category. “Port City Stories” also was nominated. “Coal: A Love Story,” an interactive multimedia website that explores modern culture’s relationship with coal won in the student category in 2012, while “Finding the Uwharries” also was nominated. In 2011, reesenews.org and “Now What Argentina?” were selected as student finalists.

Read more about the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Published March 12, 2014.