Tagged: audio slideshow

RSF Social Finance: Relationships Matter | A Photofilm by Dan Seguin

Finance is one of those industries that, because of how negatively it has impacted so many people, it gets a pretty bad rap. Perhaps deservedly so.

But there are institutions out there that are leveraging the principles of finance and taking them to a grassroots and more human level.

My friend & colleague Dan Seguin is (among other things) a photojournalist who has put together a photofilm on RSF Social Finance – an organization that is looking at communal needs rather than personal gain, and puts finance into a different context.

Check it out.

RSF Social Finance – Relationship Matters from Daniel S├ęguin on Vimeo.

You can check out some of Dan’s other work on his site.

Evolving Multimedia Narratives and Storytelling

I see you...

Anyone with a scroll-mouse, or those technophiles that have harnessed the finer points of ‘page-up / page-down’ technology, can see that I haven’t posted to my beloved Fauna Corporation in quite a while.

There are a number of reasons for this, but what is most important is that I am resurfacing after a deep-thought hiatus.

Which is to say, after much consideration, I have decided to post to Fauna Corp again, but with a slightly expanded focus to the content I highlight, share and discuss.

Over the last several months of working in advertising, and gaining some distance from the harsh realities of freelance journalism in the midst of an economic downturn and an essential breakdown in the fabric of how media works, I have gained a little bit more perspective on multimedia content.

There is no need for someone like me to be wringing his hands about the future of journalism. I’m simply not plugged in enough now to really know what’s happening with the media giants, and far more attuned minds than my own could give you the 4-11 (or even the 9-11) on what’s happening.

Furthermore, at a certain level, I simply don’t care anymore. As countless experts discuss and debate, our digital culture moves forward. People upload their on-the-ground footage, others generate beautiful short films and slideshows, still more develop apps and widgets, while experts deliberate on a functioning media model in a shifting cultural landscape. It is not possible to know where we’re going, and I think my energy is best served elsewhere.

What I am plugged into (and seeing a lot of) these days is unique digital content deployed across the cultural spectrum. This has led me to think a great deal about digital narratives – the ways that we represent who we are (or who we aspire to be) through our digital ecosystem.

Sophisticated tools are becoming cheaper, average people are developing professional skills, and more and more people are using their creativity to represent their lives. It is becoming seamless, natural and, at times, deeply moving.

It is this, then, that I am going to focus Fauna Corporation on – the artists, journos and communities that document the people, places, products, ideas, stories and projects that matter most to them. The digital narratives we create and share, to connect, however briefly, with each other and those quiet parts of ourselves that represent who we truly are.

How this plays out will be shown in the next little while, but I just wanted to give you a heads-up about this shift to Fauna Corporation’s content, and thank all of you who have been regular readers despite a loooooong silence on this little blog.

I think you will enjoy where we are going…

The Top Five Multimedia Journalism Websites

Picture in Picture – photo by Daniel Seguin

When I began keeping this blog on evolving multimedia journalism, I felt truly lost in a sea of websites. Sure, I found a few sites that carried some multimedia journalism, but the pieces they carried usually felt like afterthoughts to text or video-only coverage. Adding to the confusion, different journos and media outlets had different names for multimedia content (Visual storytelling? Cross-media content? Digital Journalism?) and no real agreement on what constitutes the content in question.

However, through repeated searching and a lot of late-night-reading, I’ve discovered a few sites that I return to again and again for inspiration and to be moved by excellent content. Some of these sites offer a showcase of cross-media / multimedia content, others primarily promote Audio Slideshows (my favourite ‘new’ form of journalism) and some simply offer instructions and suggestions to multimedia journalists looking to expand or transition their skills.

Here, then, is my list of the five most indispensable multimedia journalism websites operating today. I recommend you check them all out as a barometer of the industry and our place in it as journalists. And leave a comment if you have other suggestions!

Multimedia Muse: Multimedia Muse is a solid multimedia showcase site, with a daily round-up of photojournalism-based pieces. The founders remain anonymous, but admit to being photographers trying to get increased exposure for great content. As an example, check out

Innovative Interactivity: Innovative Interactivity is a very deep site, offering news, tools, tips and showcases of multimedia journalism. My suggestion is to browse through the “categories” on the right-side of the landing page, which offer a way to filter and find the content you are after (for example, training opportunities, advice or interactive examples, etc.).

duckrabbit: Most people who are interested in photojournalism and / or multimedia content eventually find duckrabbit. The team of David White and Benjamin Chesterton produce their own work for media outlets and Not-for-Profits, but they also host consistently lively debate about the nature of multimedia content and what we should be doing as journalists. Their blog is highly recommended reading.

Multimedia Shooter: Another multimedia round-up site, with a very clean layout and excellent content. Multimedia Shooter presents tips, news, commentary and examples of the best of multimedia journalism being produced today. Wonderful site, worthy of repeat visits.

Interactive Narratives: Longtime readers will know my love for the Interactive Narratives site. I have found some stunning pieces through IN (particularly the LA Times’ piece on the Mexican Drug War), and as their title suggests, their showcased content tends to focus on the narrative, and human, side of the journalistic practice.

There are obviously other sites that present learning and training opportunities for multimedia journalists, or highlight some high-quality pieces, but these five are the ones I find myself returning to. I hope they offer you some inspiration and education.

Questions or suggestions? Leave a comment.

Adam Westbrook’s 6×6 Series for Multimedia Journalists

connecting skills to create emotionally moving vehicles is critical for multimedia journalists

I first found Adam Westbrook’s advice for multimedia journalists through the (awesome) Innovative Interactivity site, where he was posting about free tools available for multimedia journos.

A couple of days ago, I found a link on duckrabbit about Adam’s newest creation, a six part series on the skills that emerging multimedia journalists must have. Topics covered include branding, use of video (especially for web-use), storytelling techniques, business models and finding new markets, the importance of audio in engaging pieces, and finally, making things happen, which is about the ups and downs of being a freelance content producer.

I was especially struck by the audio and ‘making things happen‘ parts of the series. I think most multimedia journalists have a primary skillset and a few secondary skills they are employing to make media-rich pieces (ie: they are primarily videographers, who are honing writing skills, photographers who are transitioning to video, etc).

My own bank of skills puts writing and sound design as primary, with photography, video and web work as ascendant, which is a little more unusual than most journos. Therefore, it was gratifying to read Adam’s emphasis on the importance of audio (and his suggestions for best-practices) as sound design is often under used in multimedia journalism.

Also, every freelance journalist / content creator can use an energy boost during even the brightest of days. Reading Adam’s piece on making things happen is essential for anyone who is crafting content in this shifting media landscape, and struggles with the endless riptide of what-ifs that accompany being an independent entrepreneur.

In short, this six-part series offers every multimedia journalist advice and tips for our emerging craft, without employing a heavy-hand or extensive external reading. I recommend this series to anyone who is simply trying to make their good work great, or at least, more satisfying.

See Adam Westbrook’s full series here.

The Bronx – 35mm by 30 Years Later

The New York Times LENS Blog is a constant joy for me (even when it presents heartbreaking content) due to its focus on photograph-heavy narratives.

This morning I watched a piece by David Gonzalez, who revisits photographs of the Bronx neighbourhood he grew up in, 30 years after the photos were taken.

The audio slideshow is very simple, but very moving because of Gonzalez’s personal connection to the people in his photos and neighbourhood he left. It is also a good example of how our collective narrative is sometimes found simply in documenting our lives, then revisiting the documents (be it writing, photography, film, etc.) with the advantage of hindsight.

It is, at its essence, why cave painting is still so compelling for us after all these centuries: it speaks to something – a need to document our lives, perhaps – very deep in our consciousness.

View the slideshow here.

Photos from the World Science Fiction Convention Masquerade in Montreal

Last week, I was able to get access to the Fan Photo area of the 67th World Science Fiction Convention’s Masquerade, here in Montreal. Most importantly for this freelance writer, I got access without having to pay the full one-day membership of $95 (nor the $275 full-convention membership) in order to take the photos you see in the audio slideshow below.

I guess Sci-Fi Convention Masquerades are fairly mainstream now, but despite my life-long love of science fiction, this was the first one I had visited.

I found it to be a fascinating combination of small community homeyness (ie: everyone knowing each others’ first names) and large-scale operation (ie: professional photographers, stage managers and security personnel controlling the action).

Also fascinating was the fact I was asked the same question four times:

“Um…Are you supposed to be here?”

There wasn’t any audio from the event that I felt was compelling enough to add to the slideshow. So instead, I wrote a simple musical piece that I hope implies Sci-Fi, and you can hear that looping in the piece below.

Also, the term “Pocket Universe” is a Sci-Fi term I thought was appropriate for my experience at the event:

“A universe or reality completely separate from ours which is much smaller, may have different natural laws, and may be artificially created.”

I really enjoyed shooting these photos and being present behind the scenes of the 67th World Science Fiction Convention. My apologies in advance to the obviously talented costumed participants who are unnamed in my piece: there was no way to keep track of who wore what, with the program I was given.

I hope the following quick and dirty audio slideshow offers you a sense of the experience (remember to turn on your speakers!).

Let me know your thoughts.

How to Build a Guitar – In Four (Expert) Steps

My recent visit to the Montreal Guitar Show inspired me to think more about how guitars are mass-produced and where the craft of luthiership differs.

Because of this, I met up with Mike Kennedy and Jeremy Clark of Mile End Guitars, who each craft guitars by hand under their own company names (Indian Hill Guitars and 52 Instrument Company, respectively).

The guys at Mile End Guitars were good enough to talk to me about luthiership and to take me through the process of how guitars are made – when guitars are made from scratch. I created the following Audio Slideshow to share the experience with you. Remember to turn your speakers on!

Note: If the slideshow images seem a little small, I suggest watching it in full-screen mode (click the box with four outward-facing arrows on the lower right of the player).

Let me know what you think.

Audio Slideshows from the Conflict in Afghanistan

This morning I thought I would post about some audio slideshows from the International mission in Afghanistan.

For Canadians, this conflict is our largest since World War Two. For other nations, such as the US and UK, Afghanistan often receives less coverage than the bloodier and (arguably) more tangled mission in Iraq.

Because of that, I’ve decided to highlight three audio slideshows – two from the New York Times and the one from the Guardian – that give a sense of the daily routine of the conflict and its ultimate cost.

The first and most recent, Scenes from a Raid, gives a first-hand experience of the night-time raids that NATO soldiers engage in, in an effort to discover Taliban fighters, weapons caches and mobile phones. The photos (taken at night) are not the highlight of this piece – instead, I was struck by the sound design and how it brings the viewer into the chaos of the experience. This piece was produced by Michael Kamber, James Dao, Amy O’Leary and Jeff Delviscio.

The second piece (credited only to “the Guardian.co.uk”), interviews a British mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan, and gives a sense of the human toll this conflict has taken on the families of NATO soldiers, who are left only with boxes of memories and medals.

The final piece, Kabul in Transition, is by NY Times’ photojournalist Tyler Hicks. It documents the changing face of one Afghan city as a symbol of the addiction, destruction, unemployment and power struggles of the Afghan people since the “fall” of the Taliban. While this piece is a little older (originally carried in 2008), it offers a view of the Afghan mission I’ve seldom found in other audio slideshows – one that shows the on-the-ground experience of the Afghan people by someone who’s seen the changes since the conflict began.

There is little doubt that one of the least-recognized tragedies of war is that it offers compelling narrative for journalists. My hope in posting about these three pieces is not to glorify the NATO mission, but simply to try and highlight the full cost of the conflict as shown through these artful, multimedia pieces.

Loss, Impermanence & Audio Slideshows

Readers who are close to the management at Fauna Corp know that we’ve been through the process of letting go and struggling through loss recently. A much-needed jaunt to the countryside has allowed my Accomplice and I to gain a bit of distance on things, and return to the city a little more sure-footed.

It seems appropriate, therefore, to post about an Audio Slideshow that I stumbled across about a week ago, posted up on duckrabbit. The piece, Zen and the Art of Sandcastles, is an effective and engaging meditation on the nature of impermanence and cyclical nature of loss.

The Audio Slideshow is the result of one of duckrabbit’s training sessions, where students were asked to go out and find a story in a single day, and then produce the slideshow the next. The results are far more than a simple student exercise, and well worth checking out.

Watch: Zen and the Art of Sandcastles.

Once again, I am struck by the number of multimedia / web journalism training opportunities that exist in the UK compared to Canada, and by how newer media is more seamlessly integrated into traditional journalism outlets over there.

In a way it is exciting to know this training exists and to see media convergence taking place, but it is frustrating to not have these same resources available to those of us in “the colonies”. Perhaps we could travel to the UK with boatloads of fish, timber and furs and barter an exchange with the Crown…

Audio Slideshow From 2009 Montreal Guitar Show

Last week I attended the 2009 Montreal Guitar Show, which was put on in conjunction with the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The Montreal show is well-regarded, being an invite-only event, and attracting some of the finest luthiers in North America and abroad.

Despite being a guitarist for about 20 years, I had never attended a guitar show. What I discovered (and I mean this in a good sense) is that guitar shows are basically Guitar Porn – hundreds of truly beautiful instruments, polished and buffed, and laid out suggestively for the hungry hands of the paying / playing public.

I had a great time walking around, talking to luthiers and capturing the sites and sounds of the event. Below is a short Audio Slideshow I created to share the experience with you.

Let me know your thoughts.

Shibuya Audio Slideshow on Guardian Online

shibuya in the rain
shibuya in the rain – photo by scott w. gray

The Guardian Online has consistently been ahead of the curve in terms of multimedia journalism, and have therefore become an excellent resource for audio slideshows. The Guardian uses these audio slideshows to explore both the variety of stories possible and the diversity of techniques involved in capturing the fullness of an immersive narrative experience. Which is to say, their journalists do an tremendous job of placing the viewer in the scene they are describing.

This afternoon I watched an excellent, understated piece by David Levene on the Shibuya intersection in Tokyo. His audio slideshow accurately transmits the organized chaos of this, one of the busiest intersections on the globe. The cuts between the cellphone and CCTV cameras were, to me, especially indicative, as were the images of baffled Westerners.

For my part, I watched this flash-mob street crossing myself in March of last year, mesmerized by the endless waves of humanity and machine at every light change. In fact, searching for a genuine Japanese experience, I watched the ebb and flow across Shibuya from the Starbucks visible throughout Levene’s audio slideshow (look for the glass front wall).

The End of the Line: Closing the Outremont Switching Station

Over the last few years we’ve seen a steep decline in the number of trains using the switching yards that lie just north of our house. The University of Montreal purchased the land and are in the process of changing it over to be part of the University’s facilities.

Below is an audio-slideshow – this is the first in a series I will be doing, documenting the changes to the switching yards and the neighbourhoods adjoining them.

Let me know what you think, or if you have suggestions for subsequent pieces.