Read a story or watch it? You decide…

A multimedia story is “some combination of text, still photographs, video clips, audio, graphics and interactivity presented on a Web site in a nonlinear format in which the information in each medium is complementary, not redundant”. Scary isn’t it?

Hopefully this explanation will be better; it’s the same story that could be told in print being told through a picture or video or both. Feel calmer now? Right…

When you think of telling a story, you think of telling it through words, correct? What if I said stories could be told through pictures or video? That is blasphemy to a print journalist but we must get our heads around it because a new digital age has arrived and is here to stay.

Is it replacing print media? Will print journalism soon be a redundant occupation? The same old worries are constantly creeping up aren’t they?

Yet not even professional journalists could deny the existence of a digital media. Not only is it possibly more engaging than learning about a story through the reading of words, but it is allowing imaginations to run wild. Human beings are naturally creative, and the best thing of all, you don’t need to have the talent of Steven Spielberg to be a part of this new media. It is open to everyone.

Yes, the key word is about to crop up again…democracy. Not everyone can get their story in a newspaper but everyone can put up their video online. Everybody has some story to tell and each story will be as individual as the person who produces it. People love having a voice and multimedia storytelling is giving people the chance to have it.

Andy Cowles, editorial director of IPC media, back in 2007 said: “To be able to produce images and create video, will be just as important as good writing. Design, in its widest sense, is going to be at the heart of the new journalism.”  The Guardian has proved that his statement was true. The Guardian is now training its print journalists to acquire broadcast skills.  In her blog Jemima Kiss discussed how she was in a Guardian digital training awareness workshop, learning the skills essential to an online world. Journalists can no longer get by with just a notebook in hand and a pen in pocket.

The video below shows how print journalists are now having no choice but to develop the broadcast skills which are so essential now. It is showing a journalist in America but the same rule applies to journalists here, there and everywhere.

In the 19th Century, Charles Darwin said: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the cleverest, but the most responsive to change’.

If journalists want to remain successful in these early years of the 21st century then they must accept the unstoppable changes that are happening. Video didn’t kill the radio star so why should it necessarily kill journalism as we understand it? A talented journalist producing gripping articles will still get his material read so what is the worry?

Let’s sum up… Why do I think digital media will capture the public? It gives a voice to the creator’s experience which evokes more feelings, be it sympathy or happiness, simply because of increased identification. The power of voice means that the story reaches out to people more. Take this story about David who passed away. As sad as the story is, if we were told it through words on a paper it wouldn’t make us feel quite as strongly about it as we do when we watch it. It is a personal story told through that person’s words and visions, which makes it much more memorable.

So grab your popcorn and let’s keep watching….


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