07Feb

The Red Line Project — a hyperlocal news site at DePaul University

 

In 2009, when Mike Reilley joined the faculty at DePaul University’s College of Communication journalism program in Chicago, he and his students had an arsenal of multimedia software at hand, including Soundslides. But they needed a thematic focus and an online platform for their work. Choosing a theme wasn’t easy. Their subject would have to produce continual news stories and present easy access. The students also wanted to publish stories about areas of the city that were underserved by some of the major media outlets.

They zeroed in on Chicago’s Red Line, a 23.4 mile-long El train system with 34 stations connecting dozens of neighborhoods in Chicago’s North and South sections and in the downtown Loop. In 2011, the hyperlocal news site RedLineProject.org was born.

Three years later, RedLineProject.org is filled with photos, audio slideshows, articles, a timeline, a map, and lots more — and it has won a bunch of national, regional and local awards.

“One of the really cool things is that the Red Line train connects our Lincoln Park and Loop campuses, so the students ride the Red Line all the time,” Reilley told Soundslides. “When the train is elevated, you can see right down into the neighborhoods. A lot of students live in the neighborhoods, so they’re exposed to the issues, whether gun control or crime or a group that chalks motivational statements on sidewalks.”

“Chalk Talk” audio slideshow

“Chalk Talk” is one audio slideshow that’s catching buzz. It’s about a group of church members prowling the streets to lift local spirits by chalking messages on sidewalks. It’s produced by Yesenia Diaz and Taylor Hyslop.

“It’s a fun, visual story made by following the group and talking to them about why they’re doing this,” Reilley said. “The photographer shot it at night, so there’s that odd urban lighting.”

Connect to The Red Line Project

Want to know if a story is right for an audio slideshow? Check back later this week for more tips from Mike Reilley.

See the Red Line Project online.

Follow Reilley and the Red Line Project journalists at @journtoolbox and @redlineproject

- by Laura Read

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