Visual Story Telling

Journalism is the art of telling a story so the reader feels like they are in the room or develop a photo in their minds of the story from the words written. This week we are looking at how visuals such as photography or video can add to the impact a story has on the public and how we can use these tools to our advantage. We learned some simple tips like the rule of thirds, proper lighting of the subject, where to place the subject, holding the camera steady, etc. How can we use these tips to better what we write about? More now than ever media is reaching people instantly and more importantly on a global level. Tapping into the news through social media seems to be the way to stay connected to world and local news. High definition technology in combination with social media is a recipe for success if used properly, so how can we use this to our advantage?

This week we read and watched a piece on Asian Carp from the Detroit Free Press. Both the article and the visual are very informative but how do you think the impact would be if they stood alone? Which aspect do you find more compelling? Do you think the use of photography and video is changing the way people write stories for media purposes?

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6 Responses to “Visual Story Telling”

  1. Megan,

    I really liked this piece, most of all the video component. Although the written article expanded on important points that the video just managed to touch on, such as the severity of the impact asian carp could have on the local economies dependent on sport fishing should the carp outcompete those species, I found the video much more interesting.

    The appeal of the video, I think, was that it really captured the impact that the fish are having on the everyday people living and making a living in the areas infested by Asian carp. I wrote a biology research paper on the potential impact that bighead and silver asian carp could have on the Great Lakes ecosystem last semester and there honestly weren’t an excess of studies available on the subject. Those that I did come across were usually pretty dry studies conducted over a few months or at most a year or two, and they didn’t tell me anything about how the fish are progressively changing the lives of fishermen, recreational and professional, today. You can write about legislation and economic impact all you want, but the visual documentation of the experiences of real people, accompanied by their voices and expressions – that’s what’s going to inspire serious action amongst the public and eventually the government.

    If the video stood alone, it wouldn’t get as much information across as the combination of the article and video did, but I think it would get significantly more across than the article would by itself. The average person who knows nothing of the complex structures of freshwater ecosystems will probably retain much more information on the subject when it’s being presented as a conversation between faces that they can relate to rather than a detached, black-and-white article. I think the media recognizes this, as traditional news publications are starting to incorporate more and more visual information into their stories.

  2. If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is worth a million…or at least ten thousand. While the two media of the Asian carp story aren’t cohesive, they do similar things well and work together.

    For cohesion, embedded videos on news stories are usually two-minute highlights of the identical written story. (Why? I edit video for WOLV-TV, so likely because video is time-consuming) Rather, this carp video is supplementary to the article, telling a similar but not identical story. So, initially, the video seems too long to be embedded on the same webpage, but it’s also good publicity for each story to do so.

    The video and article do a good job of telling a story about people and providing more than one perspective without giving non-consensus POVs extra emphasis. At first glance, the article seems to be more of a factual report than a story, but both media include up to three quotes per point.

    The video still evokes more emotion than the article and tells how the issue affects real people by showing the viewer those people. It also makes the article more credible because it demonstrates the journalist’s experience there. While joined in an unusual way (see any ESPN article), each get the job done, and done well.

  3. First of all, I think that if the Detroit Free Press hadn’t used this multimedia style of journalism, they wouldn’t have been able to create such a comprehensive, compelling report about the asian carp problem. Had only one of these mediums been used (video, graphic, written), the report would have been informative, but it would not have been able to describe the story from so many points of view. Furthermore, the variety of storytelling methods not only appeals to more people because of the variety of preferences in the user base, but also instills a sense of urgency and importance in the people who reach the home page (http://www.freep.com/article/20110720/NEWS06/110720021) of the report; something that wouldn’t be possible with solely written or video report.
    In some cases I think video reporting is detrimental to the end consumer. Many people choose video over written reports because they think it is faster and easier than reading (substantiated by the success of UpWorthy), and while quick video reports may provide a basis of knowledge of the topic, people are losing the value gained from reading a full report on the subject.
    While this is true in many cases, this article is a great example of comprehensive video journalism. Even if someone just watched the video, it is much more comprehensive than comparable mini-reports online, like the ones found on Upworthy. It’s true that a picture’s worth a thousand words, and a video maybe a million, but with growing consumer preference for graphic/video reporting, I think the integration of these mediums with written reports is invaluable, as it may prompt consumers to read the corresponding report, and preserve the value of written journalism.

  4. The article was a very informative piece. It incorporated a lot of information in a concise manner, and I think it was a good example of a way to inform the public of an important issue. However, while being incredibly informative I did not feel any need to act. The article was a factual piece, however I also think it was impersonal. Without a connection to the topic, my desire to research more or to become involved with the topic is very limited. The news article on the other hand was more compelling. While the facts may not have been as strongly presented as in the article, the personal stories, seeing the faces, and hearing the voices of the people affected by the invasive species increases my desire to become involved. By adding a personal aspect to news story allows viewers to become more involved and feel more connected to the topic.

    I think that the use of video is changing the way people write stories for media purposes. It establishes a connection to the news stories. Additionally many find it a more convenient way to stay informed. Additionally, news video has changed the manner in way people deliver news. For example, there are various television shows that present the news in a comedic and satirical manner that was made available due to news media. It allows for different and creative ways to present the news. Ways that appear to be quite popular to the American public.

  5. The article and the video are great supplements to each other. Many classmates have already mentioned earlier that the article is very informative and the video is able to impact the viewers in a way that words cannot. I completely agree with them.

    To add onto what others said, I think the video allows more room for interpretation. The viewers are given more cues from the expressions, lightings, sounds, etc. Depending on the viewer’s environment, mood, or situation, I think he/she can have a different experience from another viewer.

    This can be a positive or a negative thing. Perhaps the author can be misinterpreted by the viewer. Although the video is more impacting, I think it needs to be supplemented with the article. To answer your next question, I do think that the use of visual media is changing the way people write. It makes written media more casual and sensory-provoking.

    Allison Nam

  6. You pose some interesting questions. Could the article and visuals stand strong as individuals? I would have to answer a very definitive yes. While there is no doubt that pictures can provide details that words cannot, and vice-versa, both aspects can spark the reader’s interest. It is hard to say if one is more compelling than the other. i would have to think that the preference would have to depend on the specific person. For me, I enjoyed reading the article because I have alway enjoyed seeking out facts. It, however, would not be difficult to find someone who enjoys the photography or video aspect due to its ability to allow the reader to interpret the news in a way that they see fit.

    When I think about the perfect union of words, videos, and pictures, I think of this site: (http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com )Sometimes, the pictures are powerful enough to stand on their own. Other times, a small paragraph attached to the visual can provide me with with a far more in-depth account of what is taking place.

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