Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling- Allen

Courtney Allen

I chose the NewsU course on “Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling.” It is important to remember that a good journalist is a good storyteller as well. Even if the subject is boring, you have to keep the reader interested. With a variety of multimedia available today, it is getting easier to tell a story in a compelling way. The NewsU course breaks down the elements into five simple steps.

The first step is to choose a story. Before going off to cover a story, it is best to gather as much information as possible, and sketch a storyboard to help keep you on track.

Next, you must make the storyboard. To do this, define the elements that you would like to capture in your story. For example, make profiles of characters, description of main events, the process of how it all works, some background information and any other issues related to the story. The storyboard is your basic concept of your report.

The third step is to report with the multimedia, which basically means, have all your equipment ready to capture the elements from your storyboard at the tip of your fingers. NewsU’s small activity was to figure out what things to pack and for what purposes. The activity reminds you to bring duct tape in case your tripod breaks and the camera won’t stay by itself, or bring plastic bags to cover your camera equipment in case it rains. All the equipment should fit in one case that you can access easily. The site advises to never check your camera bag but always have it with you.

Once the elements are shot at the site, the next step would be to edit it all for the web. Keep the videos short, only about one to two minutes so that people will not get bored. Don’t let people talk on and on, only a few seconds per person. Only high-quality videos should be used with an exception: using really old recordings. Because the web is a visual medium, photos are a must, and can replace many words. Text should be used for display type such as headlines and photo captions, as well as first-person stories, short updates, etc.

The last step is producing the story. Put all the elements together but build a variety of story templates. This will help the focus on report and the storytelling.

I thought this was an insightful lesson. I wish it included more elements of the different types of multimedia possible, as well a more detailed explanation of how reporters package these stories on the web, as well as through other newer mediums such as cell-phones.

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