Tagged: interactive narratives

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.

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…

Multimedia Pieces & the Recession

I have seen a few really tremendous multimedia pieces recently, focusing on the recession and its impact on different communities.

I thought I’d post today about two stories I was directed to via the excellent multimedia journalism site, Interactive Narratives.

The first is called Waiting Topless, produced by Natalie Conn, Peter Smith, Briget Ganske for The Sunday Best. It tracks two waitresses at a topless cafe in Maine, who both took their jobs due to the realities of the economic downturn in their area, and shows the unexpected realities of struggling to make ends meet when other jobs are not available.

The second piece is a three-part video article by Pierre Kattar and Sarah Sampsel for the Washington Post, called Voices of the Recession. This piece tracks three different groups: new clients of a local food bank, various people bidding on homes in an auction of bank-foreclosed properties, and finally, people newly enrolled in bar-tending school, which has seen a 25% increase in students in the last few months.

Both of these pieces primarily highlight the extraordinary lengths that people have to go to in tough economic times to simply pay bills, make rent and take care of their families. However, the larger theme in these pieces and others on the same topic is that the economy is changing, and few have any idea of where we will all end up when – and if – our economies stabilize.

We live in uncertain times and seem to be heading for increasing uncertain futures, and the tension of navigating through it all is evident in nearly every piece I’ve seen recently – whether it is about the recession or not.