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In this new episode from our very occasional podcast series, I chat with Center intern Taylor Chase and artist Jacob Berchem about a little experiment we published on WisconsinWatch.org last week: 12 Sandy GIFs: An animated guide to Wisconisn’s frac sand industry.

In it, we talk about refining terrible ideas into better ones. For instance, here’s an early draft we ditched because the “I drink your milkshake” metaphor didn’t work. We like it. We just don’t know what it means.

It was supposed to be about water. Credit: Jacob Berchem

An inspiration we discuss is Christoph Niemann’s Abstract Sunday blog for the New York Times, e.g., The Gummi Bear Chronicles.

Some local praise: Last week we learned that the animation won Best of Show at UW-Madison’s Digital Salon, a collection of media projects by students.

Berchem also heard back from cartoonist Lynda Barry, whose comics class he took recently. She posted the video version on her blog and wrote him this email.

From: Lynda Barry
Subject: Re: 12 Sandy GIFS Project
To: Jacob Berchem

This is so good I feel like screaming!

IT’S BRILLIANT!

BEAUTIFUL!

I’m so proud of you!

XOXO
Prof Booooootsy

Here’s the video version of the piece.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (www.WisconsinWatch.org) collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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Kate Golden, multimedia director and reporter, specializes in environmental stories and data visualizations.