Thursday, May 19, 2016

Digital Storytelling Tools for Journalists (Panel 5/19)

Panel Topic: How do new forms of storytelling engage publics in new ways?

Key Points:
  • For people reading stories on their phones or mobile devices, it can be very hard to stick with a story that's a block of text no matter how well it's reported.
  • Four recommended storytelling tools for journalists: Storify, Autotune, Google News Lab, and Gifs. 
  • Storify: Recommended use for breaking news on social media.
    • Live blog stories that combines traditional storytelling with engaged audiences. 
    • Involves real-time collaboration.
    • Capacity to search social media for any topic, then drag and drop within its story editor to build a story.
    • Create multimedia timelines that show the unfolding of event
    • EX:
  • Autotune: Recommended for data visualizations.
    • Turning text into data visualizations. 
    • Easy-to-read documentation. 
  • Google News Lab: Recommended for the discovery of new trends
    • Can help to see what people are searching to kickstart new ideas, and see the popularity of search terms. 
    • Google Maps/Crisis Maps allow journalists to build interactive maps that they can embed in their own story editors and publish. 
    • The Crisis Map can help journalists visualize and share crisis-related data, and includes relevant information such as shelter locations, weather, evacuation zones, post-event satellite imagery and more.
  • Gifs: Recommended for highlighting important parts of the story.
    • Readers aren't likely to watch long news related videos, but an article that is accompanied by a gif allows the journalist to pull out the highlights.
In Conclusion:
  • These tools allow for journalists to tell their stories in different ways, while being able to cater their stories in the way they like
  • New ways to reach readers
  • Interactive

  • Do you think these digital storytelling tools are going to soon take over the traditional journalism space? Will they be quickly adopted by new journalists entering the work-force?
  • Would you be more inclined to read an article that used these digital storytelling tools rather than a traditional article? 

Truong, E. (2016, January 25). Starter storytelling tools for new journalists. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from


Should gaming and news come together to create content? Apparently not according to Apple

Should gaming and news come together to create content? Apparently not according to Apple

Key Points
1.    Using games to report news is controversial
2.    Apple rejects news related game due to political content
3.    Video games do have a lot of benefits in the news industry

·      Games that explore social and political issues have been around since the 80’s and 90’s
·   Although games in the news have been becoming more controversial. For example: Endgame: Syria was rejected by Apple and their app store.
·      Endgame puts the players in control of the rebel forces to make political and militaristic decisions
·      According to Apple, the game was rejected because the App store user guidelines “forbid games that, solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation or and other real entity.” This rule makes it seem like it would be impossible for news games to make it onto the App store.
·      Tomas Rawlings aim was to “use games as a format to bring news to a new audience and a submission such as this makes it a lot harder for us.”
·      Rawlings believes on of the issues preventing games from being more popular in the news industry is the word “game” itself. He says, “It has cultural connotations of triviality.” He doesn’t want games to be seen as solely entertainment.
·      Many question whether the game actually has the power to educate players about the conflict in Syria.
·      There was some backlash about Rawlings game, one tweet read: “How to turn the death and suffering of innocent Syrians into mindless entertainment.”
·      The company is changing the game and resubmitting it for approval. Rawlings says that “we’ll have to strip some of the meaning and context from it to pass… and that is not ideal.”
·      In my opinion, Apple and game makers such as Rawlings need to have a dialogue about the future of the industry and in what ways they need to evolve.


Questions: Is gaming news effective or mindless entertainment?

Should major news outlets like the NYT or The Guardian utilize these news games? Or do they need to keep using their somewhat traditional journalism tactics?


 Dredge, S. (2013, January 08). Apple rejects Endgame: Syria iOS game. Retrieved May 19, 2016, from

Stuart, K. (2013, January 11). News as games: Immoral or the future of interactive journalism? Retrieved May 19, 2016, from  

Social storytelling impacting branding

"There are two types of content.The first is content to be consumed, and the second is content to be communicated,"  BuzzFeed Motion Pictures VP Jonathan Perelman. 

Panel Topic: How new forms of storytelling engage publics in new ways

Key Points:

  • Storytelling is an effective way to share ideas, facts and to persuade. This can link storytelling closely to journalism where writers want to reach their audience, persuade their readers, and reach deep emotional levels with their followers.  

  • This can link storytelling closely to journalism where writers want to reach their audience, persuade their readers, and reach deep emotional levels with their followers.

  • Journalists who create stories may leave out facts in order to fill their space with emotion. This leads many people to disregard these articles for columns they believe are more fact based. 

  • This type of journalism puts the power of the writing into the hands of the people in the community. 

  • Storytelling can bring forward community efforts as well as activism into a type of journalism that can educate and highlight community members.

Specific Focus: How BuzzFeed is using storytelling through branded video content  

  • The new "Golden Age" of storytelling 
    • The age of disruptive ads is coming to an end, and models like BuzzFeed are the future of advertising. 

  • BuzzFeed videos have more of a reach through social media than through native advertising on the site itself does  

  • BuzzFeed focuses on understanding their audience and making their content shareable specifically through their videos 

  • Working with brands they learn the brand message and combine their own forms of storytelling to create popular and viral sharable content 

  • “Video is a huge, mega-trend, and the fact that it’s being viewed on mobile at such a high rate and being shared at a high rate aligns all these things together,” BuzzFeed Founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said in the Fortune magazine article.

  • BuzzFeed is launching a new partnership program to empower leading social storytelling agencies with expanded training, tools, and support on the BuzzFeed publishing platform 

  • Brands need to focus on brining value to their customer 

  • BuzzFeed is thought to be pioneering the social age of communication 
    • They have the platform to create new conversations that make sense now in our world as well as the impact on the way conversations will happen in the future

  • “BuzzFeed empowers our brand to be a leading storyteller online, and we can deliver relevant content where people are spending time,” added Gina Squara, Director, Digital, at Del Monte Foods. 


    1. Do BuzzFeed branded videos create a lasting impact and resonate more with consumer communities than traditional forms of advertising such as television commercials? 

    2. Do these videos create a unique story? Does BuzzFeed only cater to the brand message alone , or are they telling their own stories as well? 


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Impact of interactive media platforms on issues of global health within news structures and the public

What are some examples of gaming used in news narratives? What potential does this and other emergent genres have for the future of news and public engagement?
Focus: Impact of videogames/apps on issues of global public health within the news cycle 
  • Storytelling potential: interactive medium to communicate, explain, and illustrate realities presented in news cycle 
    • ex) the Editors Lab - HeartSaver (Nieman Reports) 
  • Display patterns behind the development of  biological news and stories: pandemic games 
    • ex) Plague Inc - create and foster the spread of a deadly pathogen 
    • Illustrate the spread of communicable diseases to current stories 
      • Zika Virus?
  • Interactive storytelling to actively involve audience in sequence of events 
    • "For journalists, games offer compelling storytelling possibilities. They can simulate complex systems, where different choices create different outcomes. They can create a sense of emotion and urgency in players. And they can connect people with experiences they may never have in actual life." (Nieman Reports) 
  • Raise awareness to neglected issues: powerful tool for those that participate in the media but aren't big players (Nieman Reports) 
    • ex) Darfur is Dying: understanding reality and historical circumstances of refugees 
    • ex) Broken Cities: climate change awareness 
    • ex) Rebuilding Haiti - Rue89 : place yourself in the position of those involved, politically and individually (Montañà 2015)
      • "We wanted to make people understand one thing, which is quite simple but difficult to process: when you try to rebuild a country, you take decisions that seem good in short term. More often than not, these decisions have dreadful consequences in the long term. This is exactly the idea upon which we built the game design of Rebuilding Haiti and the exact thought we wanted people to have when playing it" - Florent Maurin, journalist and game designer of Rebuilding Haiti 
        • "When you create a game, you are designing an artificial system that mimics reality. The user can interact with the system and ask questions. Where a text is a linear discourse, the game is a non-linear discussion... you will never know how the audience will actually react and use it."
  • --> Way to involve global community with a generally short attention span
  • Combining long-form journalism with game mechanics can bring another dimension to storytelling (Montañà 2015)
  • Interactivity of online journalism and changing demographics of media professionals (Montañà 2015)
    • "Using a game format was a good idea, because our game is like a trap: we want users to take bad decisions and lose the game in order to make them think, take a step back and reflect about the real situation in Haiti. The saying “I lose, therefore I think” sums it up perfectly" - Maurin 
    • “Games are models...[t]hey represent systems within systems, so you can depict the complex machinery of the world in a complex way” -  Ian Bogost, game designer (Neiman Reports) 
  • Changing demographics of media professionals - younger ((Montañà 2015)
    • "Two or three years ago, I would have told you that newsgames are not really welcomed in newsrooms. But things are changing at a fast pace" - Maurin
  • --> "Like technology, journalism is constantly evolving. In today’s ever-changing news environment, video games may provide pockets of reflection and a deeper connection to stories that build empathy among communities" (Muñoz 2016) 

  • Fertile Ground: one woman's journey through an unwanted pregnancy - "Choose your choice" 
    • "Imagine you’ve traded lives with a young woman in South Dakota, on the cusp of an important decision. Her fate is in your hands. Change her life at the end of each chapter." 
    • Place user in reality in politically-contentious situation that they may not otherwise be involved in 
      • Given step-by-step process of situation, presented with two choices, while placed in the political and economic reality of South Dakotan woman 

What could be the potential impact of interactive media platforms on issues of public health? 
How could journalists utilize these mediums to investigate or raise awareness of an issue? 

Fusion. "Fertile Ground,"Fusion. February 25 2015. Accessed May 18 2016. 

Montañà, Paula. "Interviews:New ways of storytelling: combining classic journalism with game elements," Journalism Grants. May 25, 2015. Accessed May 18 2016.

Muñoz, Gloria. "How news organizations are using video games to enhance their storytelling," IVOH. January 27, 2016. Accessed May 18 2016. 

Nieman Reports. "Harnessing the Power of Video Games for Journalism," Nieman Storyboard. January 11, 2016. Accessed May 18 2016. 

Online Community Storytelling

Topic: How new forms of storytelling engage publics in new ways

Key Points:
  • Journalism becoming more collaborative due to technology that supports two-way exchanges—>“Journalism as multimedia storytelling and multi-genre material has likewise expanded and the news environment in its production and sourcing and distribution is less hierarchical and uniform.” (Russell 133)
  • Audiences have moved from“reading public toward writing public”—> everyone can now be a journalist because the rights and means to create news stories and opinion pieces are available to everyone.
  • Greater ironic citizenship—>due to increased “fake” journalism being comical while still providing important narratives it creates a very compelling approach for engaging the audience.
  • New possibilities opened up for the public—>journalism isn’t reserved for just journalists anymore “Fake news anchors, gossip bloggers, and amateurs everywhere unafraid of offending their subjects or burning sources and unconstrained by newsroom editors and publishers run hard with information made available on the web.” (Russell 136)
  • Building online communities expanding perspectives—>very strong and large user communities being built online around shared interests and topics, fostering interactive participation through commenting on new stories, producing their own stories, collecting narratives and comparing them to one another.  
    • Ex-Reddit, youtube, twitter, facebook, tumblr
  • Data Journalism—>allows for the public to actually see what all these numbers we have access to mean in physical representation and it increases collaboration and public debate. 
  • Digital Media outlets—>”improve the quality of journalism by using new tools such as the CSI-style verification of social media posts and by allowing the reader not only to comment but to correct articles,” (; giving transparency 

Specific Focus:
How online communities, more specifically blogs, provide a new platform of story telling for the public, resulting in very strong communities that engage and share ideas on all sorts of topics creating user communities as a central interest.

Blog Pros:
  • They create a place for people to not only read stories and opinions but to engage in meaningful conversation expanding perspectives
  • Active contributions
  • Engage younger audiences to speak about what’s going on in the world 
    • ex-Tumblr

  • Self-esteem—>”People feel accomplished when they contribute useful information to the online community…members can gain a feeling of being needed and appreciated by others.” (i-scoop)
  • Some members turn to blogs to attend community discussions for companionship. They can interact and discuss things they like and dislike about all kinds of narratives.—> “Online communities can give people a fresh group of people to talk to instead of the people they see on a daily basis.” (i-scoop)
  1. Are any of you active on an online community of some kind? If so, is there a specific reason you joined the community and have you learned or changed your opinion on popular stories/issues due to online discussion?
  2. Do you consider blogs a form of story telling?

Works Cited
Meade, Amanda. "Digital Journalists Have Great Chance to Develop Much-needed Transparency." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 05 Sept. 2014. Web. 18 May 2016.
Russell, Adrienne. Networked: A Contemporary History of News in Transition. Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2011. Print.
"What Benefits Can Online Communities Offer to Members?" ISCOOP. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 May 2016.

Digital Storytelling (Panel 5/19)

Panel Topic: How do new forms of storytelling engage publics in new ways?

Key Points:
·       Digital Storytelling- contributors are making their own content and editing it, too (Meadows, 2003).
o   Practice of combining narrative with digital content, including images, sound and video to create a short movie.
o   Information in each medium is complementary, not redundant (Stevens, 2014).
o   Nonlinear- there is no strict narrative, rather the creator chooses how the reader navigates through the elements of a story.
o   Typically includes strong emotional content.
o   For groups and individuals.
·       Goes against passive acceptance of the audience and encourages engagement.
·       Can be seen as a way to “take the power back”, media is no longer being “done to us” and stories are not made at our expense (Meadows, 2003).
·       More advantages in education than most other fields (used to increase student engagement).
·       Changes to the field of journalism:
o   Traditional news outlets are learning to incorporate digital storytelling by creating multimedia websites (CNN, NPR, Washington Post, etc.)
o   Digitization effects news values, professional ethics, workflows, work conditions and newsroom management (Chan, 2014).
o   Provides opportunities for citizen journalists and independent media.
o   Enabled minority groups to have a voice in the public arena (Chan, 2014).
o   Provides more interaction between readers and professional journalists.
o   Requiring more skills from journalists (making it a requirement to be able to work efficiently with all the technology in order to break into/stay in the field).
o   Forces brands to tell stories across multiple platforms while maintaining a consistent and creative message (Smith, 2013)


·       StoryCenter provides a space for people to tell their stories and offers them support and education in creating digital stories.

·       Show the increasing use of digital storytelling across different media outlets.

·       How do you think outlets like StoryCenter impact the traditional media/journalism field? Is there room for both new and old formats?
·       How might digital storytelling effect the way the public consumes their news/information? Do you think the public is getting more or less information from this new format?

Chang, Ying. “Journalism and digital times: Wider reach and sloppy reporting.” General Investigative Journalism Network. September 2014.

Meadows, Daniel. “Digital storytelling: Research-based practice in new media.” Visual Communication. 2003.

Smith, Derek. “Revealed! The 7 best examples of digital storytelling.” Huffington Post. May 2013.

Stevens, Jane. “Tutorial: Multimedia storytelling: Learn the secrets from experts.” UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism: Advanced Media Institute. 2014.

 “7 things you should know about digital storytelling.” Educause Learning Initiative. January 2007.