"THE WEIGHT", 2007 EPpy Award, presented by Editor & Publisher, honoring the best media-affiliated Web sites
The opening of the nation’s first-ever weight loss boarding school for teens in the Central Valley seemed the perfect opportunity for The Sacramento Bee to tell the story of rising childhood obesity in a new and, perhaps, uplifting way.
The journalist’s pitch for the story was intriguing. Bee Photographer Manny Crisostomo wanted to follow students for a year, telling their story not only in images but in stories, audio and video. The prospect of limiting disruption and increasing candor by sending a sole journalist into such an intimate setting was too good to pass up.
Asked to write about how he got managed it all, Manny had this to say: “I walked into the campus of the Academy of the Sierras (AOS)…with two digital Nikons and four lenses, a high definition digital video camera, an audio compact flash recorder and several notebooks. Throughout the school year I collected hundreds of hours of video and audio interviews. These tapes and audio files not only served as multimedia components but also the backbone for the writing that followed. During interviews or school events I juggled video taping, audio recording and taking notes. Oh, and I also had to take pictures.”
In a short period of time, three of the school’s 70 students began to stand out as ideal vehicles for showing readers what it’s like to be enveloped in fat at a time of life when body image is acute. Manny spent time with Annya, Jahcobie and Ricci at school and at home with their families. He drew them out about the moment they first realized they were bigger than all their friends – and how that felt.