Washington Post’s Nadine Ajaka on the Visual Forensics Team

Pandemic-born team has garnered millions of views for reconstruction videos of major news stories. But how do you fight an urgent story against time-consuming media?


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less than two years ago, The Washington Post created a small visual forensic team. This pandemic-born team consists of a handful of specialist journalists analyzing and verifying open-source and on-the-ground videos of major news events.

Following this, the team began posting reconstruction videos that reconstruct the unfolding of complex news moments, such as the death of George Floyd, the siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and an award-winning article on repression. on protesters ahead of Trump’s Lafayette Square photo op. Many (but not all) of these videos rack up millions of views.

On this week’s episode of the Journalism.co.uk podcast, we talk to the executive producer Nadine Ajaka who leads this visual investigation team: a team that is growing today thanks to the impact and resonance of their work. It’s a sign that The post office sees value in this style of social video journalism and wants to double down on its efforts and output.

He also started a related but separate project, gathering a database of verified UGC videos from the Ukrainian War, and placing them behind a paywall for the general public and other media who can use the footage bank. , if credited, in their own work without the resource-intensive work done by The post office to source and verify them.

Ajaka talks about the logistics of the puzzle of this complex reporting with a remote crew, comparing time-consuming media with a time-sensitive story, and the potential revenue model that underpins the strategy.

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Briana R. Cross