Online Journalism: Multimedia not multiple-media

Once again, a quick post before heading off to a day of video-editing with the newspaper people. (hopefully more accurate today)

I have had time to catch up a little on some reading and finally read an article at OJR, Multimedia storytelling: when is it worth it?. Its part of a new column by Nora Paul and others looking at journalism and online design related issues and interesting though it is, it makes for curiously old-fashioned reading.

Scanning it I thought, ‘A lot of old information here’, and I wasn’t the only one. Mellisa Wordon doesn’t question the relevance but asks why it’s taken so long for people to ‘get it’

This OJR study is useful, definitely. But I hate to say that it would have been equally useful back in 1999.

Mindy McAdams develops the questions a lot of commentators have been asking about how, amongst other things, this data helps us understand understanding.

What I’d also like to see more research about: Understanding. This is MUCH harder to measure than recall, but it’s so much more important for journalism.

Through out Nora and Laura’s report eye-track survey dominates, and whilst I think it’s good, like Mindy, like Mindy I think it doesn’t answer all the questions and we need to do a lot more to understand ‘web 2.0’ browsing behaviour. Dynamic pages and page elements are not just moving images and animation anymore – static text can be just as ‘dynamic’ in an ajax world.

In a similar vein Mindy ponders on her use and lack of time (sounding a depressing and so familiar note for me) and uses the current hype around the Washington Posts being there project to develop the theme or understanding when is the best time to use video considering the consumption habits of busy web users. It’s typically incisive stuff and I think it’s a perfect companion piece to her comment on the OJR story

There are big differences between these two uses of time — which is precious to everyone. Some content is going to be very well suited to video — but other content will be better when it’s delivered in other, more appropriate formats. We’ve got to have open discussions about when video is a good choice and when it is not.

Perhaps my pondering on Radio is something we need to throw in the mix when pondering the way that multimedia works as a consumption model. Earlier in the article Mindy admits that she has the latest On being video playing in the background.

I have it playing in the background, while I’m writing this. I’m listening while I write. I don’t have time to watch right now.

In response to Mindys plea for a proper debate in the use of video Bryan Murley comments

I think that’s what’s going on now. I see it all the time in the “quantity” vs. “quality” debate that crops up (aka Owens v. Grant) 🙂

A reference to the ongoing debate of good enough vs the best we can get that rumbles on and on.

But maybe we should broaden the debate a little here and suggest a third prong. Maybe it should be Owen vs Grant vs McAdams. Not that I would suggest that they are opposites in perspective. Maybe we need Mindy’s multimedia view in the pot to thing about making this stuff really work.

Let’s be really multimedia on a page rather than just multiple-media

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