Multimedia in Asian newsrooms

Forum participants growl at their fellow mediamen during an icebreaker...

Forum participants growl at their fellow mediamen during an icebreaker...

...while the other side fires at them.

...while the other side fires at them.

I promised to blog – live – about the 3rd Forum of Emerging Leaders in Asian Journalism. I ended up spending the whole afternoon trying to get a connection and, after that, trying to get into my blog.
Obviously I still have a lot to learn — not just about blogging, but about connecting to the Internet as well. Hahaha!
Here then are notes I took while I was trying to fulfill a promise (which explains why they’re short and incoherent). The afternoon lectures were about telling a story, but telling it using multimedia techniques – sound and pictures in addition to the words.
Narrative models for multi-media journalism – by Prof. Ulla Marquardt, University of Applied Sciences, Darmstadt, Germany

Constituting elements of a narrative:

Temporality (time)
Spatiality (location)
Dramaturgy (dramatic form)
Causality (cause and effect)
Personification (to tell a story from the perspective of a character)

Two main modes of visual narration:

Spatial narratives…separate realities form contingent parts of a single image. A lot of different elements, occasions, times, space, come together in one page.

Sequential narrative: several realities form consecutive moments in time.

Difference not only theoretical but also manner of presentation to audience.

What makes a narration a good story?

Most important is that you put emphasis on the way the series of events is arranged in order to establish some kind of dramatic narration. For fiction, the way the plot is structured.

Documentary or news story, the way the story is edited. What comes next, what is omitted…shapes the story.

The king died and then the queen died – simple narration

The king died and then the queen died of grief – already includes drama

Many more structures that shape a narrative…

You can provide different points of view within one setting, one big story (depends on the structure).

Introduction only fixed point in story, followed by 60 different scenes that are interwoven with each other. Narrative unfolds in non-linear way depending on the choice of the user.

Introduce location and characters
Give the story a face
Let people tell their own story (it’s not about you, but them; some reports tell more about the media than the subject)
Contextualize
Follow a dramatic form
Use all channels appropriately to deliver your story
Use information as often as needed (with multimedia you need to be redundant because info comes and go; have to understand it at time you’re riting
Use narrative, descriptive and explanatory sequences to tell your story
Use narrative, descriptive and explanatory sequences to tell your story
Use spoken language and music to draw the audience into the narration. Audio is one of the most powerful vehicles to draw your audience into the narration
Create a unity between audio and visuals. They should complement and reinforce each other.
Don’t overload narration, and too much narration in one single image.

Principles of design

You need to decide which camera to use…what’s the best medium for what?
Differences and similarities between moving and still images

Video image bears imprint of time and linearity and change. Photography always arrested, always an isolated item.
The photographic image tries to deliver as much info as possible in one single image. The moving image is of a sequence of different images one hardly changed from the other.

The moving image organizes time, the still image freezes a moment.

Photography: complete composition in itself. Moving image only completes itself in succession of images. Moving image is able to explain whereas the still image can only acknowledge.

Viewer expectation and perception also different:

Photograph: condensed visual info, a thought, an abstraction

Moving image: shows development, representation of an event that unfolds over a certain duration of time, real word as it is

**people can choose what they see, but not what they hear. The way you use sound can be different from what you intended or planned to do. The more ambient sounds and original sounds (voices) are used, the more authentic and realistic it seems

the more music+ambient+narrator – makes the narration appears more cinematographic

everything has a sound; there are no silences…the make audience feel part of the story you need these “silent” sounds.

Think in terms of a story (how can I make a story out of these pictures)

Produce telling and transition images

Be able to create different narrative concepts for different platform (according to your target audience’s needs)

Know the power of audio

Never say that multi media story-telling is adequate to cover everything…

Ensuring professional standards – Dave Clark, University of Bolton/Dalian University

– Clark talked about MOJO, or mobile journalism, and showed how pictures can tell stories, and the different stories that can be told (with the pictures taken on the same day, using the same subjects) using music and sound, together with the pictures.

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