Newstrack Post 3

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Inside Venezuela’s Crumbling Mental Hospital

This article by Meredith Kohut & Nicholas Casey was not cluttered with many different multimedia elements, but still successful in communicating its message by way of photographs and text. In my opinion, the photographs are the most critical element of this article. If the article was just text, it would be like reading a horror story for viewers. A horror story is always interesting, but the photographs are the proof that makes it all real.

The photographs are shot from angles that amplify the message. For example, there is a photograph of three nurses in a small & dirty office. The photograph is positioned to see all of their faces, looking stressed and using any resources they can find. In the text below, it is explained that the hospital is lacking what is needed most, medicine for its patients. As a result, the nurses have to decide everyday which patients need medicine the most and ration out what they have.

I think that despite the terrible conditions, the photographers were successful in making the nurses appear as hero’s instead of villains. For example, there is one photo of a nurse tying a patient to his bed. Sounds pretty horrible right? But the photograph was shot just right, the light from the window shined in on the nurse’s face, the patient seemed relaxed and you could see the gentleness of the nurse. If the photographer had chosen to shoot this photo from behind the nurse, only getting the nurses silhouette, tying the skinny patient to the bed, not being able to see the patient’s expression, then the entire message of the photo may have been misconstrued. The viewer instead would get the impression that this hospital is inhumane and the nurses treat their patients terribly, which is not right at all.

Also, this article has a clear beginning and end, which is important in any story. The beginning photo shows a frail man getting out of bed, while the end photo shows a woman curled up in a desolate room. I thought these photos were in a good order because it demonstrates how a typical day resolves for the patients, and how at the end of the day, they go back to the same hopeless state.

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