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Video as “hub” of storytelling April 18, 2009

Posted by michizzle in symposium.
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Travis Fox, video producer from WashingtonPost.com, described how video fits in with online storytelling.  In the recent past, online newspapers put video up as a way to generate more interest in their sites.  However now they know that just video alone will not save them.  They can use the material they shot for many other functions.

Fox once shot a story series about different aspects of the crisis in Darfur in which he also did the writing and editing.  He was able to use the script from the video for an article that ran on WashingtonPost.com and use some stills for photos.  It also aired on television on a program called “Foreign Exchange.”

“In the future there will be a new breed of journalists who can do all this and it’s second nature,” Fox said.

Another way it could have been used would be to take the sound file off the video and edit it for radio broadcast.

The old model newspapers used was to try to get extra revenue from video ads online but instead video can be used to get different bits of revenue through different media.

“I’m not saying that the era of video on the web is over, but that the era is changing,” Fox said.


Ideas to use on the web April 18, 2009

Posted by michizzle in symposium.
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Fred Ritchin, co-founder of PixelPress.org, discussed efficient ways of creating visual storytelling online.  The digital environment is composed of “discrete chunks” meaning online multimedia should be treated differently than in a continuous analog one.  Storytelling on the web should be more like a conversation which can be achieved by using hypertext.  The narrative moves in different directions like taking hypertext links to move through a story. 

Ritchin believes that what is missing from a lot of the journalism done today is perspective.

“I started to understand journalism the day I left it,” he said.

  Online news serves as a search function instead of being used to browse topics.  A browser friendly website can give voice to the subjects of the piece in a way that traditional pages cannot. 

Ritchin proposes that images used online should have a four corner system in which each of the corners contextualizes the image in some way.  For example, the top right corner may show an image of what happened before the dominant image occurred.  The idea is to give the reader a more interactive view of the subject to keep them engaged in the story.

About ten years ago, Ritchin co-founded PixelPress, a site dedicated to providing alternate views of the material they covered.  In 1996 the site created a project showing different aspects of Bosnia.  It was a four hour trip through issues the country was facing that the reader navigated with hypertext.  Ritchin laments that more media does not utilize horizontal scrolling simply because of the complicated nature of the technique.  He believes that it is important for the reader to experience the story on their own terms. 

“This is the most exciting time to be in journalism, but we have a lot of work to do,” Ritchin said.

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.”