In North Dakota there’s no shortage for jobs. As a matter of fact, the unemployment rate is at plus one percent. The New York Times audio slideshow called it “The Luckiest Place on Earth.”

From the first slide, the point of the story was clear; oil workers. It shows a oil floor hand drilling away, drenched in oil. The story has a clear narrative as well. I thought the story was the most effective part of the slideshow.

The beginning shows different shots of different oil workers. The slideshow then transitions into shots of the community. These are people associated with the oil rig in some way. The end of story focuses on the workers living conditions. Nonetheless, the focus is never lost; the North Dakota oil boom.

The most striking aspect of the photos are the people’s faces. Each picture conveys emotion. You can almost tell exactly what they’re thinking. Soth was very effective in this area.

However, the slideshow lacked a variety of shots. Too many pictures were medium range. There weren’t enough close-ups or shots from a-far. Furthermore, the rule-of-thirds wasn’t followed and each subject was smack-dab in-the-middle of the photo.

There’s such thing as a shot looking too perfect. Multimedia journalist Alec Soth either doesn’t like shots from different angles or he felt it wasn’t necessary for this piece. I would’ve liked to see some shots from different angles.

I would’ve also liked to hear a little bit of ambiance. Some sounds of working on the rig would’ve helped set the scene better. When Soth mentioned the dance hall he visited, a little natural sound of the place would’ve brought the viewer in more.

Soth did do a great job with narration. But I would’ve liked to hear what some of the people in the pictures had to say. His pacing was hard to evaluate because there was no button to play the slides. Consequently, I had to click a arrow each time it felt fitting.

This was somewhat difficult because it’s almost like a game of match. Match the audio with the photo that is. It was a hard game to play. I would’ve liked the slides to play in succession with the audio. That would’ve helped the flow better.

This is possibly the reason why Soth’s slideshow lacked movement as well. No fades, no zooms, no pans. Just plain. Spicen it up a little Soth!

On a positive note, the captions were precise. They didn’t state the obvious yet rather ‘further explained’ what was occurring. The quotes in the captions worked, although I would’ve just incorporated them into the audio. Still, the people were properly identified in each picture.

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