Tagged: guardian

Informing and Entertaining Despite Shortened Attention Spans: The Guardian’s NSA Files Decoded

People’s attention spans have shortened. Wait – are you still with me?

I said, people’s attention spans have shortened. For instance, I am no longer able to recite Sophocles from memory. And if I could, who would listen?

A few years ago, when I was writing more frequently about the “future of journalism”, the struggles and growing pains of traditional news outlets were mostly based around a) funding and b) competing for audiences believed to be no longer able to concentrate for long periods thanks to technological changes.

Well, journalism funding models are still primarily stuck in a pay-wall / subscription paradigm, but an interesting shift has happened around content. And you can see it in pieces like the Guardian’s NSA Files Decoded.
Continue reading

Multimedia Training for Freelance Journalists – Bursaries Available (in the UK of course)

I have posted before about how much more progressive the UK has been in its adoption and development of multimedia journalism, and today found another example.

Whether through examples like the Guardian’s new media content, the way that UK-based media outlets have embraced the reciprocal loop of feedback with their readership, or the general acceptance of multimedia journalism becoming more ubiquitous, there seems to be a greater integration of multimedia journalism into the wider fabric of society in the UK than we see here in North America (and great deal deal more than we see in Canada, currently).

On that front, Journalism.co.uk posted today about Skillset (a training body for the UK creative media industry) offering multimedia training bursaries for freelance journalists. The inclusion of freelancers is probably a very astute business move given the current economy, but as a freelancer I must say that I am jealous that the opportunities for high-quality, multimedia skillset upgrades exists so readily in the UK and so rarely here in Canada.

These training opportunities seem to mirror the level of acceptance of the shift to new media content in the wider media. Which is to say, in Canada, media outlets are largely still in a holding pattern – debating how multimedia journalism will evolve and impact us all – while other countries adopt new techniques and narratives, and even offer professional training to push the craft further.

For a country as vast as Canada, and that formerly had one of the most advanced telecommunications networks in the world (alas, not any more), seeing the multimedia opportunities in foreign media is doubly frustrating.

Perhaps I could just commute…

Lest We Forget – WWII Slideshow

Like a great many Canadians, I am deeply effected by Remembrance Day. Like millions of others, my family was touched, turned and torn by WWII, and in some ways the vivid memories of what my parents saw have been passed on to me and altered how I see the world.

Appropriately, a friend and colleague alerted me to a Flash-based timeline on the Guardian website that shows the march to World War Two from its nascent beginnings at the end of World War One.

While the timeline does re-purpose the same photos several times over (odd, given the archives the Guardian must have at its disposal), the information is solid and the break-out articles by George Orwell, Edward Murrow, etc., provide an eye witness context we seldom receive from our vantage point in history.

The Guardian timeline is recommended by Fauna Corporation, not only because of its journalistic / new media integrity, but because of its ability to remind us of the sacrifices our soldiers made for freedom.

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.

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).