2023 Digital Video Storytelling, Series, Large Newsroom finalist

ZIP Codes with Imaeyen

About the Project

“ZIP Codes with Imaeyen” explores the social, economic, and political conditions of a place through the personal stories of the people most affected. These people are often among society’s most marginalized and least listened to. In a saturated news environment, “ZIP Codes” goes into the trenches to expose root causes and draws connections.

If you want to know anything about the United States, all you have to do is explore where people are because, in the U.S., where you live defines how you live. Our health, the opportunities we get in life, and the risks we encounter are all heavily influenced by our environment. That’s the premise of “ZIP Codes with Imaeyen,” a long-form news documentary series highlighting the country’s true narrative. It offers an intimate look at the communities residing within different geographical regions and zeroes in on the five-digit shorthand for what’s happening there: the ZIP code.

The series uses the uniqueness of each ZIP code to tell the macro by focusing in on the micro, and it doesn’t shy away from difficult depictions. “ZIP Codes” has followed a Black trans man as he gave birth to his first child in anti-LGBTQ+ state. It showed the first moments of a newborn’s life when a mother used midwives for labor and delivery in a place with limited access to maternity care. The show has watched women dance through their trauma in prison, showed how the so-called “cheapest city” in the nation isn’t cheap enough, and even given an inside look into the lives of blind teens.

It uses videography and graphics to connect with audiences on multiple platforms. It creates intimacy by bringing viewers into spaces where they may otherwise not be. And it does all of this in 15 minutes or less, making it the perfect bite-sized long-form video, whether the viewer is consuming on the go or in watching at home.

“ZIP Codes with Imaeyen” is a unique concept with unique access. It lives as the intersection of investigative, narrative, explanatory and solutions journalism.