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ProPublica, the Lens Launch Multimedia Project on Coastal Loss in Louisiana

New York, N.Y. — August 28, 2014 — ProPublica and The Lens of New Orleans launched an interactive package today on coastal loss in Louisiana due to climate change, drilling and dredging and levees. The two organizations will also showcase the work at events in Louisiana next month.

The project, “Losing Ground” includes an interactive news application that enables users to see the effects of human activities on the shrinking coastline starting from 1922. The accompanying article, vignettes, and audio paint a portrait of the loss’s profound effect on the area’s communities, economy and ecosystem. In some cases, whole towns are disappearing.

Events related to the project include:

  • A live web chat with Lens reporter Bob Marshall and ProPublica news applications developer Al Shaw, Friday at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT.
  • A launch event Sept. 16 in New Orleans featuring Marshall, Shaw and Brian Jacobs, ProPublica’s Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow.
  • A roadshow along the Louisiana coast starting Sept. 30, demonstrating the app and collecting audio and photos from affected communities.

“With the anniversary of Katrina approaching, it’s a fitting time for the nation to reckon with humanity’s effect on this fragile coast,” said Robin Fields, ProPublica’s managing editor. “We were thrilled to partner with the Lens on this and look forward to continuing a conversation that’s critical for the whole nation, not just the gulf.”

Steve Myers, managing editor of the Lens, said, “We wanted to give people a sense of what land loss looks like if you could see it over time from 30,000 feet. But we also wanted to convey how it looks to the people who have witnessed it. The satellite and aerial imagery dovetail with the interviews and audio to describe what we’re losing physically and culturally.”

The work was made possible, in part, through generous support from the Knight Foundation, Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, and Knight-Mozilla OpenNews.

For more information on the events, contact Anne Mueller, development director at the Lens: (504) 258-1624 or [email protected].

For more information about the news app, contact Nicole Collins Bronzan, director of communications at ProPublica: (917) 512-0233 or [email protected].

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. In 2010, it was the first online news organization to win a Pulitzer Prize. In 2011, ProPublica won its second Pulitzer, the first ever awarded to a body of work that did not appear in print. In 2013, ProPublica won a Peabody Award. ProPublica is supported primarily by philanthropy and provides the articles it produces, free of charge, both through its own website and often to leading news organizations selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of each article. For more information, please visit

The Lens is the New Orleans area’s first nonprofit, nonpartisan public-interest newsroom, dedicated to unique in-depth reporting projects, as well as exclusive daily stories. Its mission is to educate, engage and empower readers with information and analysis necessary for them to advocate for a more transparent and just governance that is accountable to the public.

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