The Rebirth of News

Around the world, print newspapers are struggling to remain prominent and reliable sources of news. Current increasing patterns of digital media consumption have become prints greatest nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The dawn of digital media has provided print news the opportunity to reinvent itself. The interests of news consumers have largely shifted but their primary goal of remaining informed has not changed. Digital media provides both the news outlet and the consumer with the potential to quickly digest news and better understand the topic from a human vantage point.

Traditionally, print news would detail several important stories and even garnish those deemed most lucrative with a picture or two. Today, we see much of that same structure but online. One thing digital news has allowed for is the increased usage of visual elements – something that can dramatically change the nature of a story.

A story has the power to evolve into an even greater source when covered through the digital storytelling medium. Much like pictures, video coverage of a compelling story allows readers to deeply engage and assimilate into the issue. Take this video from the Detroit Free Press detailing the Truth About Asian Carp. This story would have worked in print, but the digital medium brought much more to the topic. While a journalist can write about how high fish fly in the air as boats cruise down the Mississippi river, watching the fish jump in alarming quantities heightens the necessity for action. The video also puts viewers in the middle of the problem. Reading about an invasive species might not be a topic that everyone is interested in but viewing the phenomenon of fish flying in the air can hook individuals. Shots of being on the boats and having water splash up on the lens inserts the viewer into the issue and can consequentially make the issue more pressing. In addition, digital news allows viewers to watch individuals of many different backgrounds and digest their varying perspectives on an issue. Watching someone’s body language and facial expressions as they talk about an issue can provide the viewers with more information than just quotes.

Digital media can provide more opportunity for individuals to better understand problems and perspectives today. Interestingly, societies increased functioning through technology has brought this change about. According to Huffington Post, communities that have strong written language still rely on stories as the main method of communicating tales of their society. “If stories are the glue that holds communities together, perhaps the most important job of digital storytelling is to help us continue to nourish these relationships even when the traditional means of reciting stories aren’t available.”

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3 Responses to “The Rebirth of News”

  1. I agree with Katie. The new media technologies have proven to be a new way for people to explore the news. I believe that in a few years from now, print will be taken over by online publications, video, and photographic work. There is something gratifying about holding a newspaper in your hand, and feeling the pages; however, an online journal can have the same material, plus links and visuals provided at a click of the mouse. Using a narrative with visuals of the issue at hand is becoming a new way for news sources to engage the viewer. Although, there are many stories that can stand-alone, using video in my opinion brings the story into a different dimension. For example, the video of the carp jumping out of the water created a visual unlike anyone has seen. I do not think an article could compare to the absurdness of the video of the immense amount of fish colliding with one another, jumping into the boats. It is also great to see the people involved in the story. Rather than quotes, we are provided with a face and voice. This makes the person more humanized and real to the viewer. I am excited to explore visual and new media to tell stories.

  2. Visualization of anything can add a whole new layer to the topic, and inspire engaged thought-processes. Thus, I LOVE that you pointed out that visualization “puts viewers in the middle of the problem”. I agree that it can give readers/viewers a real sense of urgency not found from reading a newspaper at their breakfast table while sipping coffee. Furthermore, I would like to note that humans are visual information processors, and while reading is technically ‘visual’, it does not engage our minds in the same way as videos or diagrams. Illustrations help us wrap our minds around the issue much more efficiently and richly than trying to simply sort them in our thoughts — that is why they are often referred to as ‘visual aids’!

  3. Visualization is really important to story telling. I think its a huge benefit that being so reliant on digital technology has provided us with. Many talk about how our cyber dependency for everything is bad, but I personally think this is one positive that is overlooked. Being able to add high quality photos and videos adds a whole new level of storytelling and visualization. Many of the articles I’ve read about scientific breakthroughs are simply too hard to understand without visuals, which are much easier seen online, and also take a lot less resources to produce than printing a bunch of pictures in a newspaper. I also like her point about ‘visual aids’, there really is a reason why they are considered aids- they help us understand stories as well as picture them. Visual storytelling is definitely the future of news in my opinion.

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