VPR Interactive Tracks FEMA Irene Relief Money | Off Message

VPR Interactive Tracks FEMA Irene Relief Money

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As the geek-in-residence at Seven Days, I love it when an online news story comes with a good interactive or multimedia element — a "news app," as the cool kids say. That and I have a laughably tiny attention span, such that pushing buttons is more appealing than reading 3000 words (don't tell my bosses).

The NPR mothership has long pioneered the use of web-native technology in journalism (a recent favorite is their exhaustive guide to "Arrested Development" jokes), and now that's trickled down to their Vermont member station. Vermont Public Radio published a great multi-part interactive breaking down which towns and organizations have received the $185 million in grant money FEMA doled out after Tropical Storm Irene.

The first part gives a geographic breakdown of where the money went. The striking thing here is how you can use the amount of money each town got to visualize the storm's damage. The dark red, where the most FEMA money was disbursed, extends from Waterbury in a south/southeast direction towards Jamaica and Rockingham, while the northwestern parts of the state emerged relatively unscathed. There's a screenshot of this graphic at left, but you really should click through to see exactly how much money went to each town and how that money was split among homeowners, governments and grants to mitigate future damage.

The project goes on to display how much money went to different government departments, plus how much went to other organizations around the state. Clearly a lot of work went into this piece — it includes bylines for a reporter, producer, editor and developer — and it's very much worth your time to click around. It's good info, and rollovers are always fun.

Click here to see VPR's "Mapping the Money: FEMA" feature.

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