The importance of multi-modal reporting in the news industry’s digital shift

9 06 2011
Editor’s note: As a member of AAJA’s 2011 Voices Program, I’ll be covering their national journalism convention (this year in Detroit) come August. But before then, I’ll be partaking in some pre-convention training at Poynter’s News University. I figured sharing some of the jewels of wisdom I come across on my site will provide a great resource for others.

Thinking like a multimedia reporter (strengths and weaknesses in each platform). It goes beyond being able to write a story for print, and produce video and interactive maps online. A journalist fluent in multimedia should be able to create multiple platforms that play up to each medium’s strengths.

Regardless of platform, all reporting require the basics: the facts (who, what, when, where, why and how), sources and newsworthiness (a reason to listen/read/watch). But how these essentials are packaged will look differently to each platform. A short rundown:

For broadcasting, you want to use a strong visual or audio grab to get the viewer’s attention. And unlike print/text platforms, you want to convey one idea per sentence in a style that feels conversational. Using a video clip for television and audio piece for radio in your story will boost its credibility and make it more interesting. The biggest weakness for broadcasting is that complex issues can be extremely difficult to summarize or simplify in a 60 to 90 second spot.

For print, it’s all about the lede and inverted pyramid. When people pick up a newspaper, the photo (if you have one), headline, lede and nut graf will be the main factors considered when deciding whether or not to read the entire story. Using words that utilize vivid detail and the senses (sight, sound, touch, smell and taste) can sometimes create a much stronger visual than a picture or video can. The strength for this platform can also be its weakness. Often times, words sometimes fall short to completely explain something that a video or audio platform can do better at.

For online, two approaches are used: the short summary for scanners and the online exclusives for information diggers. The first option means, using the inverted pyramid approach for short bursts of info. Or if it’s a longer story, breaking it up into bolded subheads or bullets are the way to go. Scanners tend to just read headlines and the first graf of a story and move on. For online exclusives, news packages including interactive maps, links, Flash and audio-visual elements are commonly used. Technical aspects like content management systems and having an online package outlive changes in technology pose a challenge for this platform.





Report confirms news media still have no clue how to be financially sustainable

15 03 2011

The 2011 State of the News Media released Monday by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism reports what we already know about the news industry: media convergence continues to have a negative affect on newsprint readership while online readership is growing, newsrooms are continuing to shrink while community journalism seems to be growing (yes, I’m talking to you Seattle), news consumption is becoming more mobile (yes, I’m talking to you iPhone) and we still don’t know how the hell we’re going to make money from all of this.

Some other interesting points:

Want more information? You can create your own specific search results thanks to Pew’s handy database.





Why yes, I am published.

3 11 2010

Last month, I had the honor of having one of my video projects published on an online academic journal called TheJUMP by the University of Texas, Austin.

The Journal of Undergraduate Multimedia Projects is a new project venture focusing on publishing rhetorical digital and multimedia projects. “Closer,” the video I produced in January 2009 was my culminating project in a month-long intensive unit called Digital Storytelling.

I’ve been published in print and online from various newspaper works but it’s also nice to say that I’ve been published in academic circles. As most journos know, the byline is our only source of an ego boost.

Click here to check out the editors’ responses, my professor’s thoughts on the video, as well as my reflection.

 





Lessons learned from my internship at Yahoo!

22 07 2010

Almost as soon as I landed in Australia, I was lucky enough to snag an internship as political news intern at Yahoo!7, Australia’s top internet, television and print media company.

One of the many lounge areas of Yahoo! where I interned.

With a federal election coming full swing, I was pushed into the deep end of Aussie politics and government history. My main duties included researching and sourcing online galleries and story ideas, and working with news assets through Yahoo!’s content management system for their online exclusive campaign package.

As I did with my previous internship, I wrote the most important things I learned from my experience. Below are three from working at Yahoo!7:

  1. I love and miss the process and intricacies of reporting. Sifting through bureaucratic reports, obtaining public documents, interviewing, shoe-leather reporting, researching, multimodal reporting and the list goes on. Although my work involved journalistic qualities, working for an information technology, product and services company was not that same as working for an intrinsically news-oriented organization. Since news content from places like Google and Yahoo! rely on wire services, I worked more with managing news content than producing it. While it allowed me an opportunity to critically analyze more of the theoretical aspects of news dissemination in online platforms, I realized just how much I missed good ol’ shoe leather reporting. I’ve come to realize it’s the interaction, involvement and intimacy related to reportage that I love the most about journalism.
  2. News companies can learn a thing or two from Yahoo and Google. News companies and publishers might hate aggregators like Google, but after working for an internet information company, there are some gems the news industry, who’s shaky internet economy is causing financial strain, can take away. Unlike what many people think, Yahoo! and Google are two very different companies. Mashable Co-Editor, Ben Parr, likens Yahoo! to be a content-driven company while Google focuses on technology. For news companies, it wouldn’t hurt to take a case study of Yahoo! and  learn more about how useful services and engaging content can drive eyeballs to their site (most national news companies understand this, but many smaller to midsize companies are floundering here). News companies could also benefit from Google’s experimental ethos in creating innovative technology and tools that benefit users.
  3. As an intern, you work for your company, but your company should also work for you.  Yes, you’re the fresh-faced, wide-eyed eager intern responsible for duties your boss hands to you, but he/she is also responsible to make sure you get the best experience possible (I’m not talking about lame stuff like your boss assigning you coffee runs). I’m still learning how to be more assertive when it comes to making sure my experience is holistic and rewarding as I can make it. For example, because I was handed a list of tasks to be completed by my last day as soon as I started, I felt I would inconvenience them if I asked to reach out and have experience opportunities. I would have loved to have shadowed with their Seven Media Group partnership, one of Australia’s top network news companies, to see what TV journalism is like outside the states, but in the end, I was to afraid to ask. Simply put, it never hurts to ask.




The Whitworthian bags seven Mark of Excellence Awards

24 04 2010
Update: The Society of Professional Journalists announced The Whitworthian the best all-around non-daily newspaper in the nation May 4, 2010.

I made an earlier post about whitworthian.com having received the coveted 2009 Associate Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award last fall (considered the most esteemed honor in student journalism comparable to a Pulitzer).

Now, the print counterpart has picked up seven Society of Professional Journalists‘ Mark of Excellence Awards 2010 for Region 10. Our newsprint was awarded first place for Best All-Around Non-Daily Student Newspaper, beating out runner-up Gonzaga University, and whitworthian.com received first place for Best Affiliated Website.

My pornography series was awarded third in the category of “Online In-Depth Reporting” while previous online editor, Jasmine Linabary, placed second for her ”The Women” series.

From a recent press release from my university:

“The second- and third-place finishes by Jasmine Linabary and [Kyle] Kim in the online in-depth reporting were especially noteworthy,” says James McPherson, associate professor of communication studies and adviser of The Whitworthian. “Both students did their comprehensive multimedia projects by themselves, using a wide variety of media tools. On the other hand, the winning project in the category involved the efforts of three faculty members and almost 30 students, most of whom were either law students or graduate students.”

And considering our publication of 15 editors and roughly 40 staff held our own compared to larger schools like the University of Washington, Seattle Pacific University and the University of Montana, I’d say we’ve made quite an accomplishment.





Getting my toes wet in radio broadcasting

18 04 2010

As a student journalist specializing in multimedia, radio production is one of my least areas of experience. My home university doesn’t offer the best in this area of journalism, which is in part why I decided to study at a university that has the resources and technology to provide deeper knowledge and experience on how to make news in a medium that solely depends on sound.

The audio file below was my first assignment in my radio production unit. A partner and I was given the task to think up of a question and ask it to people on the streets while we capture their responses with a recorder. This bread and butter practice in journalism is known as vox pop.

A reporter interviewing a protester outside Calgary's U.S. consulate. This is one of the pictures by me at the Pan-Canadian Day of Action on Canada's military involvement in Afghanistan put on by the Canadian Peace Alliance in downtown Calgary, Alberta.

Vox pop is from the Latin phrase vox populi meaning “voice of the people.” The method of asking people on the street about their opinions on a particular issue is a common practice in radio, print and TV journalism (The online medium has similar practices such as crowd sourcing and interactive capabilities that allow for comments and dialogue in forums, blogs and news sites).

My vox pop question: If your home was on fire and you only could save one possession, what would it be? With the recent fatal roof insulation program debacle that sparked criticism towards Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, We asked students at Macquarie University what they would save. Most responses were sentimental or purely for practical reasons (and some outright kooky that didn’t make it to post production).

Click on the link below to listen.

houseonfire





A Yank soon-to-be Sydneysider

12 02 2010

For the next 11 months, I will be trading in fuzzy little squirrels for kangaroos in Australia (and proof that my dream to ride in the pouch of one is that much more realized).

This saturday, I’ll be enduring a 20-hour flight before I can finally set my feet in Oz. And of course what better way to start the cultural immersion early by flying QantasLonely Planet guide to Australia in tow.

I’ve been practicing my Aussie accent, but I have to say it is not nearly as developed as my queen’s English. But I’ll be the one with an accent for once…a strange realization.

From Seattle, then Los Angeles, to my final destination in Sydney.

I will be studying at Macquarie University under their media studies program.
Read the rest of this entry »








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