Ever heard the saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words”?
This phrase has taken on a whole new meaning in terms of news stories with the ever-growing trend of visual storytelling. Due to its myriad of forms (encompassing everything from individual snapshots to infographics to video interviews) as an ever-evolving medium, the technological and communicational possibilities of visual storytelling seem nearly limitless, making its title of ‘the news medium of the future’ no surprise. And, with the omnipotence of video sharing websites such as YouTube and constant visual stimulation of 24-hour news channels, it isn’t hard to perceive the trend toward the visual in today’s society. In fact, an article on the website Videomind.com states that ‘video will make up approximately eighty-six percent of web traffic by 2016’. As the general population grows increasingly tech-savvy, media consumers are actively outgrowing the black-and-white newsprint of yesterday: they want emotional motivators, visually stunning graphics, and the immediate gratification of a news story that literally tells itself through picture and video.
Another benefit of visual storytelling is that it allows for a far more personal and multifaceted news experience. For example, the Detroit Free Press’s video, “The Truth about Asian Carp,” presents the niche issue of a possible Asian carp invasion threatening the Great Lakes and makes it attention- grabbing, personal, and interesting to a wider audience. By bringing viewers directly into the boats of the fisherman personally affected by this issue, we are able to get a sense of how these people look and speak (with heavy accents and all) and what they think about the issue in their own words, while seeing videos of the fish themselves. These factors cause us to become personally invested in the story in a whole new way, making it compelling in a manner that would be nearly impossible to achieve through passive written description alone.
To see more about the visual effectiveness of the Asian carp story, visit: http://www.freep.com/article/20110717/NEWS06/307170001/With-video-truth-about-Asian-carp