About the project

This project, A Hell of a Ride: I-81 Gives as Much as It Takes, was reported, written, produced and designed by eight students who enrolled in a journalism course, Multimedia Storytelling Design, taught in winter 2017 at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Students majoring in journalism, strategic communication and English studied how The New York Times and The Guardian put together their Pulitzer Prize-winning interactive stories, Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek and NSA Files Decoded: What the Revelations Mean for You.

They then went “behind the curtain” and learned web design skills through HTML and CSS, and used other digital tools to imagine, design and create powerful, compelling interactive features with audio, video, graphics—and words—that are on the cutting edge of journalism and mass communications.

group photo
Front row: Professor Jeff Barry; Leigh Lloveras; Parker Butler; Ellen Kanzinger; Camille Hunt; and Professor Toni Locy. Back row: Isidro Camacho; Mary Michael Teel; Abby Thornton; and Julia Gsell.
Ellen Kanzinger in the plane
Ellen Kanzinger before takeoff in a plane built and flown by Matt Paxton, owner and publisher of the News-Gazette in Lexington, Virginia. Paxton was kind enough to take Ellen above I-81 so she could photograph the interstate from the sky. She also used his GoPro video camera to record portions of the flight.
Parker Butler, ready for roadkill
Parker Butler decked out in protective gear before riding along with a DBi Services crew that keeps I-81 clear of debris and road kill.