Digital Media Master’s Project: The Last American Grand

The Last American Grand screen shot

The Last American Grand screen shot

“The Last American Grand” is a journalistic, multimedia project, produced by team mate Paula Neudorf and me, digital media students at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The result of seven months’ worth of research and reporting, this Web site was submitted as our master’s project in March 2010.

We shared the responsibility of filming versus interviewing, and found that it made us a better team. We switched off who controlled the camera while the other interviewed a subject. We also took turns shooting B-roll, calling our sources, etc. We each had “our” sources, so that each source dealt mostly with one person, though we’d often switch off who contacted who, so that we hope our sources came to think of us as a single journalistic unit. Splitting things fifty-fifty helps both pragmatically and emotionally.

When it came to assembling our final project, each of us played to our strengths: Paula focused on the text piece and lent her editorial judgment to the Web site, while I focused on the visuals and the site’s construction. We each edited two of our four main videos, with me editing “The Restorer” and “The Polisher” videos, and Paula, the trailer, “The Tone Regulator” and “Pianists on Pianos.” Outside of the videos, Paula wrote the text piece, assembling information we had both gathered from our reporting, while I assembled the text and videos for the timeline. I also constructed and designed the website from scratch.

For more information, email

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