After watching the documentary Gasland my wife Victoria has become incensed about the practice of fracking, as hydraulic fracturing is commonly known. The issue has received global attention, but is also being practised close to home for us near Sydney’s water supplies. Victoria has been wondering why people don’t seem to be paying attention to what seems like a major environmental issue on our doorstep.
ProPublica has an existing three-year running project reporting on fracking and drinking water contamination. However their latest initiative may get more attention than the rest combined. The team has created a great music video which explains fracking in graphics and music in 2 1/2 minutes.
“My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)” is not meant to take the place of the rich, detailed investigation done by Abrahm Lustgarten and the rest of ProPublica’s frack squad. It’s impossible to sum up a massive, immersive experience like “Buried Secrets” in a two-and-a-half minute song. Instead, the intent is to bring people in, to create an easily digestible package that compels news consumers to dig into the real meat of the story.
An explainer is not “everything you need to know about X.” It’s not a shortcut to becoming an armchair expert. But it is the starting point, the big picture, the tiny bundle of information that gives users the context to appreciate and understand the most challenging and rewarding works of journalism.
So while we hope that you enjoy the song, what we really want you to do is read more about hydraulic fractured drilling, so you can truly understand “what the frack is going on.”
So there you have it. (Part of) the future of journalism is music videos. Sounds good to me.