New Approaches Emmy Award

Off The Trail


View the project: http://features.newsy.com/off-the-trail/

Entry Category:  35/New Approaches: Current News
Title:  #OffTheTrail
Production Company:  Newsy
Date content was originally made available for viewing:  10/05/2016
Original URL:  http://features.newsy.com/off-the-trail/


To Whom It May Concern,

2016 delivered ad nauseam horse-race coverage of the presidential election but miserably little policy reporting — only a combined 32 minutes of policy coverage was on the major networks from January through October. Our goal was to break out of the political press bubble and travel across the country to talk to real people about real issues, including clean energy in Kansas, the drug epidemic in West Virginia and migrant deaths in Arizona.

We produced seven full documentary-style reports and five loosely scripted "debrief" videos in the span of three weeks with a team of two reporters, one videographer and one producer. This was a feat few, if any other, video news organizations could have achieved. Due to the nature of the trip, with viewers following us as we drove across the country, we had to produce content almost in real time as we traveled. That meant draping jackets over our heads to create impromptu recording booths at an interstate rest stop and editing on laptops in the back of our van as we hurtled toward our next destination. For the “#OffTheTrail” team, this was the most challenging and rewarding project of our careers. 

The team produced surprising, original vignettes from across the U.S. — from a Virginia island sinking under rising sea levels to the heart of the Rust Belt's heroin crisis to a small Kansas town destroyed by a tornado and rebuilt on clean energy. The project allowed us to stand out from the crowd by tackling big issues that still need comprehensive policy solutions: energy, climate change, the opioid crisis and immigration.

The series expanded Newsy’s venture into original storytelling while extending the brand’s reach through social sharing, featuring among many of the leading over-the-top television services. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Zach Toombs, Kate Grumke, Kevin Clancy and Connor Hickox