The Interactive Media Project for the Public Good
Longo Mai, Costa Rica
First place winner, Best of the Web competition, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications – International
The Interactive Media Project for the Public Good is more commonly referred to as the “iMedia Fly-In”. It’s a project held every year through the Interactive Media Program, where students are split into 3-5 teams and sent to different locations around the world. In each team, everyone is assigned or voted into a specific role and then, when on location, they work with a client and produce a multimedia website, all within a month. I was voted the Project Manager of my team of 8 students, and we traveled to a small community in Costa Rica called Longo Mai.
Longo Mai is a very small community of former refugees a couple hours outside of San Jose, with a focus on self-sustainability, eco-and research-tourism, and education. As such, our team did not have wifi or internet access, or hot showers, and majority of our four 0530h – 1800h days were spent hiking and filming. For some members of my team, this proved to be a challenge resulting in unprofessional behavior and it was necessary that I conducted a few different mediation and comfort sessions, which seemed to help. Due to their location, we were also unable to have contact with them before traveling there in January, except for a couple of emails through a courier.
As Project Manager my job included organizing and leading daily meetings, planning and implementing deadlines, handling and finding solutions for constant internal conflict both in-country and at home, taking responsibility for any tasks that needed to get done, encouraging my team members, and writing and presenting our project at the Fly-In Presentation.
The planning for our project began with looking at and picking apart Longo Mai’s old website. From there, we held meetings with the leaders of Longo Mai about the purpose of their website, and what they wanted to gain from it. They told us they wanted more tourism in the forms of research- and ecological-tourism so they could work to protect the rainforest they live in, and explained that it was extremely important to them that our website be trilingual as they had three main tourism groups – American, German, and Central American. Beyond that, it was essential that this website be tablet and mobile responsive as majority of Costa Ricans use mobile phones rather than laptops or computers.
Once back in the states with all of our information and footage, our design, video, and photo leads all started their respective work and the first mockups were created. I was able to form a strong relationship with my team and provided consistent feedback to my team as they approached me to ask about a transition, edit, or color choice. I provided feedback to the best of my ability, but also encouraged them to think outside of the box and find the best solution. After completion of the mock-ups, I instructed our design and UX/UI lead to complete user testing, which was then analyzed and revisions were implemented. From there we began work in WordPress by deciding on a theme (Divi) and starting to edit. We ran in to some problems of our web developer not being confident in WordPress and our team mentor, Dr. Amanda Sturgill, and I found someone from outside our group to help. The tutor we brought in was able to help him set up the website, but as the pressure built, he began deviating from what our team had chosen for our design without letting anyone know and I had to take over the job of main web developer in order to allow our project to be completed in time for our presentation.
Our presentation was held on January 24th, 2020 and the design lead and I created our PowerPoint presentation, and Dr. Sturgill and I determined what I would be explaining once we moved to the website portion of the project. Below are pictures from our completed website, as well as the YouTube video of my presentation.
Still images of our final website design from longomaicostarica.org
Final presentation of the Longo Mai multimedia website at the 2020 iMedia Fly-In Presentations. I was the speaker for our group. I hope you enjoy!