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Visual storytelling with Multimedia in Colombia April 17, 2009

Posted by Lauren Oakley in symposium.
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María Teresa Ronderos courtesy of Semana.com

María Teresa Ronderos courtesy of Semana.com


María Teresa Ronderos explains that storytelling is more than just writing, it’s an art form. As editor of Colombian magazine, Semana.com, Ronderos explained the advantages of online journalism and the endless possibilities it enables readers and journalists.

“As journalists, we no longer control the story line,” Ronderos explains. “People can choose what is interesting and useful to them in a story online and they have the freedom explore it.”

Semana has been in publication for over 25 years, but their online version is still a novelty for the Colombian community, only launched 6 years ago. The website specializes in trying to rebuild the truth in the armed conflict currently in Colombia.  Most of the stories that are posted onto the website deal with human tragedy and how the war is affecting Colombian culture, and the best way to portray the emotions of the story is through visual story telling.

Ronderos showed the audience an array of  multimedia Flash packages portraying the war conflict occurring in Colombia, and the importance of interactivity with the user.

“We include a lot of images and video in our packages with more information than they need so that users have the option of reading and seeing only what interests them in the package,” she said.

Ronderos told the audience that there are only eight people on Semana’s multimedia team, two of which are familiar with Adobe Flash. The small team of multimedia journalists are multifaceted and can do just about anything when telling a story: print, video, photography, etc. Every employee can do everything which is an important skill set to have as an future journalist today.

With the rich stories that Semana is faced with on a daily basis, Ronderos said the that everyday angle forces them to look for visually attractive multimedia options for every story.  Colombian citizens started to become confused with print editions of the stories dealing with conflict, and the best way to portray them were through visual media.

Visual storytelling allows journalists to produce and narrate other kinds of information generally difficult to sell to editors.

“The beauty of online journalism is that you can choose what works best,” Ronderos said. “We are creating a new type of storytelling and we are still in the cave stages and have so much more to grow.”



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