Integrated Storytelling – a primer

In this presentation by New York Times editor Aron Pilhofer  offers some tips for telling compelling stories in a digital age using a variety of tools. Now, before you watch this, keep in mind that I’m not expecting the kind of high-level stuff that he’s talking about. You may pull together an infographic for your story, but I don’t expect you to do the kind of data scraping he’s talking about in some of his examples. And you might include some video, but you’ll probably be unable to do the kind of programming required to embed it the way it is used in Snow Fall. In fact, I’m not expecting a huge amount of interactivity in your final projects, as that requires some programming. That said, he has some great examples (some of which I’ve listed just under the video), and his approach is the right one, I think.

Snow Fall — New York Times

The Great British Class Calculator — BBC

Orkney — New York Times

Taxonomy of Digital Storytelling Packages

You will probably also want to read through this article from the Berkley Advanced Media Institute. I think the opening lines (quoted below) give a good outline of the kinds of things that you can do with integrated storytelling.

Online story packages usually contain multiple sections or formats and they take a variety of forms on the Internet. Some borrow heavily from old media conventions, while others try to define what kinds of storytelling are native to a digital format:

  • Some stories are presented in a linear fashion similar to narratives in traditional media like TV or radio. They may be divided into segments or chapters like a multi-part newspaper story, but the user is expected to go through the segments in a predetermined sequence. Alternatively, non-linear stories are sliced into topical segments and it’s up to the user to decide how to navigate the package.
  • Placing multimedia elements in a story is approached several different ways. Sometimes text drives the story and multimedia components like video, graphics or photo slideshows are placed put off to the side. In other cases multimedia is embedded inside a text story (or even embedded in a video story as interactive elements in the video) or are part of an immersive experience.
  • In many stories one type of media is dominant, usually text or video or photo slideshows with audio, but sometimes data, graphics or games, and other media forms are secondary.  Other story packages draw on many different media forms equally, with different parts of the story told in the type of media most appropriate to that kind of content.

Past Student Samples

Click here for some samples of both journalism and comms stories from your predecessors!

General Resources

Kathy Schock’s Guide to Everything

This site has an educational focus, and the concept of “digital storytelling” focuses on personal narrative (and from what I can see, an over-reliance on video-only). That said, there are still many good resources here.

Western University: Faculty of Information & Media Studies

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