Multimedia Road Maps

The tools have grown more complex, the deadlines do not put the news to bed and the mission has been blurred. Nevertheless, reporting still has the same basic mission:

  1. Find good stories
  2. Tell stories effectively
  3. Use the best tools possible

Tracy Collins offered three points of wisdom so that new tools do not cause reporters to sacrifice their stagnant responsibilities.

  1. Don’t become a slave to tools
  2. Don’t undermine service to your community by not doing a good job with No. 1
  3. Don’t undermine success of operation by failing to do No.1

Basically, there is a strong emphasis on No. 1 and a change in platform should not change the functionality of a newspaper. Journalists should still edit and focus story ideas, consider all possible angles and be mindful of storytelling elements.

Therefore, multimedia stories should not replicate a print story. It should instead add another level or understanding to the print story. Multimedia pieces should find a unique story that does not configure into the main focus of the print version. These stories still deserve to be told, either through side-bars, how-to graphics, explainer videos and picture slideshows.

What is missing from the linear story that can help enhance the point of the package serves as content for a multimedia element.

Tangent side bars that would bog down the main part of the story are low hanging fruit or multimedia, Collins said.

  • Slideshows
  1. can document main point visually
  2. capture uniqueness in pictures
  3. shows variance that would not have been conveyed in the linear story
  4. hones in on a character in the print story
  5. adds emotion
  6. dramatic or visually “cool”
  • Interactive Graphics
  1. detailed information that should be explained in pieces
  2. shows an element that goes through evolution
  3. interactive form helps the reader better understand the meaning and significance
  • Online Database
  1. Is there enough interest in the topic?
  2. Is there enough information for a database?
  • Video
  1. should not repeat the print story in video format
  2. take finite pieces of the linear story and tell it
  3. average video is 2.8 minutes
  4. must tell a complete story
  5. show somebody something they would not get to see
  6. must provide a perspective that can’t be gracefully shown in a photo
  7. adds emotion
  • Flash Stories
  1. will the audience want to jump through the levels of flash modules for the story?
  2. is there enough content?
  3. is there a compelling reason?

This session showed me how we need to stitch The Pendulum and The Pendulum Online together so that they are working as a cohesive team rather to enhance stories and extend angles. These two facets should not be publishing the same material, but should produce work that supplements and serves as an amalgamation to the print linear story. More communication and more intensive planning will enable our paper to achieve the goals outlined during the session.



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