A conversation about contiguity

Tuesday, we’re going to talk in class about what we mean by “multimedia” and what we hope to accomplish with the various tools at our disposal. Are we thinking in an intelligent way about all of the elements and using them in a contiguous way? Ronald Yaros sure doesn’t think so. In this piece from AJR, he talks about the best use for multimedia.

By the way, here’s Jane Stevens‘ definition of multimedia — one I think Yaros would agree with:

A multimedia story is some combination of video, text, still photos, audio, graphics and interactivity presented in a nonlinear format in which the information in each medium is complementary, not redundant.

Now, I want you to think hard about the last time you saw a great example of multimedia journalism that fits this definition and Yaros’ description. Then, I want you to send me the link so we can talk about it in class.

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6 Responses to A conversation about contiguity

  1. Emily says:

    This one is my absolute favorite. It brought me to tears a few months ago http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/01/27/magazine/20100127_OMAR_TIMELINE.html

    • reedkath says:

      It is unbelievable. The timeline works really well to give you a sense of who this guy is. And now I am reading the very long story.

  2. Joel says:

    Though going on a few years old now, I think the piece “Common Ground” by Scott Strazzante fits into Yaro’s description.

    Currently the NYT has an ongoing project where they are following a battalion from the 10th Mountain Division as they travel to Afghanistan. This is a long term project that the website organizes in one place as to allow all the parts of the project to be accessed.

  3. leeannelias says:

    Honestly, I had a really hard time thinking of a piece that really matched this description. Mostly because….I’m not sure I’ve seen one yet where the information presented is not redundant (or is even presented in multiple forms, period).

    The description in Yaros’ piece of where to place sound and video clips reminded me a bit of a well-made computer encyclopedia. I remember getting an Encarta one when I was younger and using it to do a project on old world explorers – you could access photos of the men, maps of their routes, and use tabs and the like to pick which information you wanted to see more of.

    Along the same lines, here are some more singular multimedia projects I’ve enjoyed lately.

    Everyone Forever Now: Shooting a gun and Tanning. These are not “traditional” journalism pieces, nor are they associated with a news outlet, but I think there is really something to be said for how powerful the combinations of images and voices are. We might never be able to take this much artistic license, but its certainly something we can learn from.

    This interactive graphic on Albert Pujols and his almost-400 home runs. Baseball stats do not even interest me in the slightest but I was absolutely captivated by this and all the different ways it broke down the data presented.

  4. Krystin says:

    I know we talked about mediastorm in class today, but I learned about it at Northwestern’s journalism institute the summer before my senior year – and I’ve been a habitual visitor to the site since. Everything on there continues to amaze me.
    However, I got bored one night and decided to find something interesting and interactive and informative. I found this, a multimedia documentary about life in urban high rises:
    It’s beautifully done. I love the design, and the message is conveyed beautifully. I don’t think multimedia should be without aesthetics – why create something and not make it beautiful? It’s no good to have information presented in a boring fashion, and this site certainly avoids that.

  5. alyshalove says:


    I really like this multimedia piece done by the New York Times just a couple days ago about CT brain perfusion scans. I think it does a really great job of taking a complex-sounding subject and statistical medical data and bringing it to life with people’s voices. The audio clips with photos are very effective– I think with a subject like this it’s important to let the patients speak for themselves.

    I think it’s interesting that they led the text article with an anecdote about Alain Reyes, then allow him to speak for himself in an audio clip. We’re told not to overlap our subjects in multimedia stories, but the lead wasn’t going to be able to tell Reyes’ whole story– I think it was a good decision to double dip in text and audio.

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