Thanks to the Overseas Press Club, who honored the last in a series I launched seven years ago—Crisis Guides—with their 2011 Best Use of Multimedia category last night. The particular guide that won, Crisis Guide: Iran, can be accessed below. (I was executive producer of the project.)
It’s the second time a Crisis Guide has won an OPC award, and this time, I admit, somewhat bittersweet: The Council on Foreign Relations, which has hosted this project from its inception, appears to have pulled the plug on future guides.
This is a shame—these guides are not only consistently among the most popular links from CFR’s excellent website, but also have reached across political lines in attempting to provide a baseline for debate over issues. It also tweaked the nose of journalism, which was downsizing its own investment in such depth precisely as we launched the series.
For CFR, it was a gutsy thing for to do: I’d argue that it helped turn a rather dusty brand with no real presence online into a digital innovator. But they are expensive, and they take dedication in terms of staff and from the experts who devote time to helping strike the right balance. And all such investments - in even the best organizations—are the target of those internally who think they could use the investment more wisely.
Through the years, my team at CFR—supplemented by my friend Brian Storm at MediaStorm.org—produced detailed multimedia guides to the Korean standoff, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Darfur, climate change, the global financial crisis, Pakistan, and now Iran.
There is no lack of conflicts left to tackle. There is no lack of institutions willing to fund such work. But, the “way” requires a “will.”