Parts, parts and more parts

Brian Kratzer and I will be talking to you tomorrow about what makes multimedia good and how to plan for success. I learned something about this a few years back from the brilliant Jane Stevens, a big believer in storyboarding. She talks about thinking in parts — not in the linear sense of “first part, second part, third part,” etc., but in “this part,” “another part,” “another part” and “yet another part.” She believes the distinction is an important one for pushing our brains out of a linear thinking path. (By the way, at the link above she talks about creating a home page for your project, but just ignore that part for now — we won’t ask you to do that.)

I think a rough storyboard is a great tool. But there are lots of other great tips on that page.

I also like Mindy McAdams’ site Journalists’ Toolkit, which is undergoing a facelift. She links to Brian Storm‘s gorgeous, inspiring and helpful site. This is where you can see some of the best work anyone is doing anywhere. Scroll down and look at some of the projects. One of my favorites is here: The Marlboro Marine by Luis Sinco.

Recently, I became a big fan of Choosing Thomas from Dallas News (A warning: It is pretty upsetting). But you probably have your own favorites. Don’t forget to share them with us.

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9 Responses to Parts, parts and more parts

  1. “Choosing Thomas” was absolutely heart-rending, but it told the story in a way that only pictures, video, and audio could. It really demonstrated the power of visual storytelling. I am a firm believer in the power of words, but even the most carefully crafted words could not have told that story in a more beautiful, compelling way.

    “Close-up” on the MediaStorm site seemed interesting at first, but to be quite honest, I lost interest because it was a bit long, and there was not as much of a story-telling element. That being said, I am amazed when I think about the hours and hours of work it must have taken to put together those 3 minutes and 26 seconds.

    “Marlboro Marine” showed a similar dedication–these projects give me a whole new appreciation for the visual side of reporting.

  2. reginaconvergence says:

    The idea of mutlimedia storytelling — instead of just print – still unsettles me. Convergence requires lots of training and a paradigm shift. While I am excited to expose and immerse myself in unfamiliar areas of journalism so that I can be better equipped for whatever the future brings, my only concern is that I would still very much like to hone my writing and editing skills, which I consider the backbone of journalism. But would I be able to devote enough time to them, as I would be learning other time-consuming skills like radio/video production? I guess that’s why I’m here at J-school.

    Anyhow, that being said, I found MediaStorm’s “Surviving Tsunami — Stories of Hope” fascinating. It actually got my teary-eyed. It’s a powerful work that empowers those who have been affected by the 2004 tsunami — which includes all of us.

  3. Laura says:

    This post is full of useful websites. Thank you! I especially enjoyed the tips on interviewing, “Loosening Lips.” The author seems to have gone through a lot with people in order to know how to counteract awkward and uncomfortable situations.

    “Choosing Thomas” had me crying most of the clip. It captures the emotions of an already compelling story. I felt so connected to this family and the images were so intimate.

    “Sandwich Generation” was good too because of the journalist’s ability to show the complexity of the issue in the audio interviews with the “sandwiched” parents. They were happy to take in their aging father, but it was also very inconvenient.

    The article on ethics in audio editing was helpful because I am one to stick so close to the proper line, I lose opportunity to enhance my story. This shed light on how to eliminate the unnecessary while still keeping context.

  4. I really enjoyed the way that “Choosing Thomas” fluctuated between pictures and video, each using the other to further the story. Video can be really crucial in times when you want to show a certain interaction but I feel like a picture does a better job of truly capturing a moment in full, with all of the intimacy and emotion. I thought that “Choosing Thomas” did a great job of going back and forth between pictures and video as well as text and audio. The only things that were put into text were factual – things that the viewer needed to know but not necessarily things that the parents needed to say.

  5. I enjoyed Brain’s Storm and I can’t believe that he took 20,000 photographs to tell the story. It is incredible. I must say I was craving some narration though, it was powerful, but I see it being used more by an organization, school, non-fit, advocacy group as opposed to on a news webpage.

    I did like the way he presented factual information in bold large text, I was able to retain that information perhaps more than if I was reading it in a big block of text.

    I also liked that he had links to “what you can do” or ideas on how you can reduce your negative effects on the environment.

  6. Sean Leahy says:

    Whenever I think about multimedia journalism, I think about the power of sound. Video can be very powerful, but using audio to make someone visualize a scene can be just as useful.

    I took the first course in the convergence sequence last semester and we worked a lot with Marantz voice recorders. One thing the instructors stressed was the importance of natural sound–it makes the listener feel as if he or she is in the scene. If someone is building a house, put that microphone right where he or she is hammering in the nails.

    Interviews and voiceovers set the story, but natural sound puts the listener where you want them to be.

    Needless to say, solid NPR pieces (accompanied with text articles) are some of my favorite examples of multimedia journalism.

  7. Caitlin Wherley says:

    As a print journalist, it’s sometimes difficult for me to think outside the box and approach stories with different types of media. The journalists who wrote, photographed, recorded, taped and edited “Choosing Thomas” did an excellent job telling the Laux’s story through multimedia. It’s one of those stories that couldn’t be told only with printed words.
    I really appreciated Tuesday’s lecture on storyboarding, as I’ve been worried by the seeming daunting task of designing my multimedia project. But I’m not as nervous now because I have a starting place.

  8. Mary Daly says:

    We watched this video in my Visual Communication class today: I can’t imagine a better way to tell a simple tale of suburban sprawl. A text story just wouldn’t have the power of his images. This is a case where photos, paired with some audio and video, tell millions more words than text ever could. I think the key of his success is each of his images is not only artistic and well shot, but also has substance and can individually tell a story.

  9. I must say, after reading this blog post, I do feel relief and less apprehensive about the multimedia project. Although I don’t have any major issues understanding technology, it is difficult for me to get in the mindset of producing something really powerful using hardly any words. I’m a words person, I love to read, but I think this project will present me with a new challenge and push me outside of my comfort zone.

    But, I do realize that this is something I can succeed at without feeling like the world is coming to an end…but I have a feeling I’ll be able to write about it in much greater length once it is all said and done.

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