Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Patrick Orsagos, Gene Puskar and Paul Vernon delivered an all-formats package weaving together the personal, political and economic implications of a planned $20 billion Intel semiconductor manufacturing complex in rural Johnstown, Ohio, where homes are being demolished to make way for the project that will bring jobs to the “Silicon Heartland” and presumably reduce a shortage in manufacturing capacity for computer chips.
Knowing that customers look to the AP for this kind of business enterprise story, the journalists set out to illustrate the changing landscape around the project, literally and figuratively. Cross-format brainstorming and coordination developed from an initial conversation about how to convey the impact of the two processor plants expected to open in 2025 on the nearly 1,000-acre site.
Columbus reporter Andrew Welsh-Huggins and the team spoke with a local mayor, a representative for the project developer and residents. Pittsburgh-based photographer Gene Puskar provided visuals, including drone stills and video showing expanses of green fields and rural homes that will be cleared away to make room for Intel. Among the residents interviewed was diner owner Tiffany Hollis; Welsh-Huggins spent days building trust, eager to speak with members of her extended family who were moving away, their longtime “forever homes” to be leveled.
The result: a compelling interview at the home of Hollis’ grandmother, 85-year-old Tressie Corsi. The poignant story of the family’s multiple generations and their connection to the land and their homes, with video by Columbus video journalist Patrick Orsagos and stills by freelance photographer Paul Vernon, grounded the all-formats package in the lives of those most directly affected by the Intel project.