The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

October 15, 2012

Alexandra Nicolas, columnist: 2630 Wall Project aims to include everyone in build

JOPLIN, Mo. — Construction is under way at 2630 S. Wall Ave. Since the May 22, 2011, tornado, it has begun to feel like houses go up overnight, but Scott Clayton, executive director for Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity, knows that’s not how it works.

“All those walls and all those studs that you see in a house that isn’t complete, it takes a lot to do that,” he said. “So, obviously you can see a completed house, but it’s hard to get an idea of what it takes to make that unless you’re really part of a house construction.”

Since ground was broken last week at the location on Wall Avenue, Globe staffers have been on site working on the 2630 Wall Project.

The idea behind the project came from Globe photographer Roger Nomer, who wanted to tell a story that we have covered so many times before: the construction of a Habitat home. This time, however, the story would be told from the vantage point of the house and would aim to bring readers into a construction process that often goes ignored. In most news stories, people are the main characters. But in this story, the house will become a character, surrounded by the people who build it over the next three months.

Readers who follow the 2630 Wall Project will get a look at the steps involved in building a Habitat home that Clayton described. They will be able to follow the entire project — from foundation pouring to wall raising to giving the new owners their keys.

The 2630 Wall Project, the Globe’s first true blended-media effort, won’t be the traditional story readers are used to reading.

When the house is completed, there will be a story with photos, but for the months of the house’s construction, readers can follow the home’s progress online in real time through Twitter and Instagram photos with the hashtag #2630Wall. Videos and photo slideshows will be viewable at joplin|globe.com/2630wall,and updates will appear in the printed edition of the Sunday Globe.

The 2630 project also invites readers and Habitat volunteers to participate in the coverage. By using the hashtag #2630Wall to Tweet updates and post photos of the house on Instagram, the project becomes not just a portrait of the house, but of the people who helped build it and those who watched it grow.

When the project is complete and the homeowners have moved in, readers and participants will be left with a detailed chronicle of the home. Its construction will hopefully give a better idea of what it takes to build just one of the thousands of houses being built all around recovering Joplin.

 

Alexandra Nicolas is Web producer for The Joplin Globe.

Participate in the 2630 Wall Project

Find the signage at the build site, take a photo from the designated location and upload the photo to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #2630Wall. Follow the tag to watch the house grow.

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