Readings on Multimedia


Briggs, Blaine, and Clark differ in their teaching styles between the three textbooks. Each author offers advice and techniques on how to conquer the world of multimedia storytelling.

As a student of the visual journalism program, I’ve learned a lot about photojournalism. Capturing the perfect image to accompany a story, or to stand alone, is crucial. Nothing that any of the authors mentioned came as new information, but I found it interesting what each author choose to focus on. Clark’s book never specifically references multimedia journalism, instead it focuses on writing tools. However, I found that many of his writing lessons could translate to the multimedia world. He writes about seeking original images. In photojournalism you always want to produce work in a new and different manner. One of the tenants for National Geographic photographers on assignment is to portray their subject in a way that has never been done before. Blaine touches on framing your image in photojournalism. This is a little more technique driven advice, but it’s true that the composition of an image holds a ton of weight in the audience’s eyes, whether they are aware of that or not. Finally, Briggs reminds his reader to find the moments. This requires you to be a dilligent reporter and stick around to wait for the moments.

We worked with audio last year for a multimedia piece in Johnson’s class. I don’t think anyone in my class fully understood how complex producing and editing audio can be. While a simple iPhone recording may work for transcribing an interview, if I was looking to use audio in a multimedia piece I would need a proper recorder, specific interviewing technique, and a serious editing program. Clark focuses on how dialogue can act as a form of action. Sound bites bring a story to life. The conversation captured on audio needs to be interesting and draw an audience. That being said, Briggs writes about on how interviews can be extremely boring, yet they are the most common form of audio journalism out there. A successful audio piece depends on the reporters presence and dedication to find the story. As well as the emotion that comes through in the people’s voices and stories and the feel of the atmosphere. To portray the atmosphere, Blaine says that a journalist needs to include natural sound pops. Reporters often conduct an interview in another place to maintain control over their subjects voice, and then edit in natural sounds that they had recorded earlier. Depending on the story, natural sounds like a running river, car horns beeping, or coffee beans being ground can help the audience visualize the story.

Lastly, video is a realm that I haven’t yet explored. This year in DOC Photo we will have the opportunity to learn and produce video, but having no experience in it right now I was a really eager to learn from the three books. Briggs includes data on how much video has influenced our society. Over 1 billion youtube users watch over 6 billion hours of videos a month. That’s an insane number of people tuning in to watch videos, so I can see why video has become such an important part of journalism. I really appreciate how Blaine incorporates the importance of details in the b-roll. While the main parts of a story are crucial to portray, the details can be telling as to who this character is and why do we need to know about them. Finally, Clark writes about how a journalist should work from a plan. This seems like a huge part of video storytelling, because with so many moving parts (visuals, nat sounds, dialogue, details, etc.) having an initial outline of how to conduct and produce the story will make the reporters job easier and result in a better organized video.


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