Archive for the ‘reaction’ Category

Reaction-text and online reading

April 19, 2009

For the text portion I read Made for the Medium. This chapter focuses on photojournalism, and how to tell a story and make it interactive for readers with photos. This reading teaches the value of the slide show and how in many instances the slide show can be more practical and interactive than either reading the story in a newspaper or watching it on television. From this reading I was able to gain a little more insight into the value of a slide show and ways to make the slide show appear more interesting. One thing that I wonder about is the fact that the author kept tauting the benefits of the slide show because of the poorer quality of video online. I couldn’t see when this was written, but in my opinion, video online is pretty easy to watch. While I do think that there are many times when slides would work better than video, I wonder if slide shows will become less popular as online video progresses.

Although I don’t know that I would ever attempt anything of this caliber, The Crossing showed me a good example of how to make a long, complicated story into an interesting multimedia presentation. The story was divided into more than 30 chapters, but the ability to move from chapter to chapter, the pictures of those involved, and the compelling story itself kept my attention.

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Reaction-10,000 words maps

April 12, 2009

The first interactive map that I viewed on the 10,000 words website accompanied the story of the 2007 bridge collapse in Minneapolis. The map is simply an aerial photo of the bridge with numbered points marked on the bridge where different incidents involving the collapse took place. By clicking on the numbers, you can see an enlarged picture of the section of the bridge and a caption describing what took place there. The map is simple. There are only six points on the map, but it is a useful addition to the story and helps me to really understand the horrific nature of what happened that day by plotting out the separate devastating events that took place over a relatively short stretch of land.

The second map was a map of the Binghamton shootings which maps out the various points in the building that the shooter went through and provides captions of what he did at each point. Maybe it is just my own personal preference or opinion, but I thought the map did more to sensationalize the violence of the story than to add to my understanding of it. In the previous map, the collapse of a bridge and how that bridge managed to collapse is somewhat hard to understand and visualize. However, when the story states that people were forced into a closet and killed I can understand that. Having a map, and especially having a map where at the end it shows the fake people turning red as they are shot with bullets, does nothing to help me understand the situation and makes the whole shooting almost look like a video game.

The third map, which maps the location of a bear attack, is simply a google map that shows the location of the attack and gives the option to click on points in the map like the site of the actual attack. This one is useful to a story like this because if bears are attacking I can imagine the most important thing would be to know the location.

Reaction-Spam Wars

April 5, 2009

For my critique I read “Spam Wars” on the MSNBC website. I thought that in general the story sections were well written and informative. The author took spam, a topic which doesn’t seem like it would be interesting at all, and turned it into a story that is informative and relevant. Anecdotes, such as the story of Mary Youngblood who calls people to let them know that their computer is being used for spam, are used in a way that keeps the story interesting. Although some of the sections are a bit long, the text portion of the piece works well.

I thought that the multimedia portion could have been better. I thought that the game on the first page was a cool idea because I don’t normally see a game used in a multimedia story. However the game itself was kind of difficult to understand. The top ten spammers link I could not get to load so I am not quite sure whether that added or did not add to the story. The Q&A section was a good addition because it gave a brief breakdown of the story, but the text in the Q&A was hard to read.

I did like this piece but I think that there was too much text and not enough multimedia. I think that if some of the text were removed and replaced with some other types of media this may have been a more interesting story.

Reaction-MSNBC story

March 29, 2009

This week I visited MSNBC Multimedia and looked at two slide show stories. The first was Couple Inseparable in Life and Death, the story of a couple that was married for sixty-five years and died within eight days of one another. The second was entitled A Night of Eloquent Emotions, which captured the reactions of three generations of African-Americans watching the Obama victory in November.

I liked the story of the couple, although when I first watched it I didn’t quite understand what the real purpose of the story was. While their love story was touching, I didn’t feel like the idea of two elderly people who had been married for a long time dying within a short period of time to be that unique. Most elderly couples have been married for a long time and the fact that one died soon after the other didn’t seem to be much of a story. When I realized that the whole section was on aging however, it made more sense that an older person would be interested in the story. I did like how they used a combination of video and photos to tell the story.

The Obama reaction story was definitely better tied to a current event. I thought that the story and the accompanying video were well done. Although the reactions were tied to a specific news event, the story and video are still timeless in a way because they capture a moment that will always be significant. This is something that I struggle with in my own stories; figuring out how to make the story somehow newsworthy or current without making the story sound like a news story.

Photo Gallery Reaction

March 22, 2009

I visited The Washington Post Camera Works and viewed a photo gallery entitled Non Profits Struggle to Serve the Community. The pictures in the gallery focus mainly on the activities of a South Carolina food bank that is struggling to feed the community that it it a part of because of the rise in unemployment in the area. Most of the photos are of those trying to receive help from the food bank and there are pictures of the customers in the food bank as well as in their homes.

I thought that this photo gallery was well done and could tell the story even without the actual story text. While the text was able to give statistics and explored the politics behind why the people of this area are going hungry, the photos showed the people that are dealing with hunger as a result of the bad economy. Seeing the people that need help at home with their families helped me to have more of an emotional connection to the story.

In many ways, the pictures helped me to understand the scope of the problem. While the text can give an actual number to the amount of food that is needed, seeing the first picture in the gallery helps make those numbers seem tangible. If the food bank is as large as it appears to be in the picture and they are still struggling to feed the hungry, the hunger problem must be widespread.

Living on a dollar a day in Malawi

March 8, 2009

Living on a dollar a day in Malawi uses text and audio to give a glimpse into a day in the life of a poor family in Malawi. I found the audio portion of this story to be far more interesting than the text . While the text in the story and the narration in the audio are basically the same, the audio portion seems to give much more information about the people of Malawi and the family being featured.

Just the small things captured in the audio version that can’t be conveyed in the text help bring the story to life. The sound of the tools and the well helps me to better visualize the action in the story.  In the text, Martha’s story is mentioned but hearing her voice and her laughter gives a better picture of the young girl who is dreaming of a better future.

One criticism  of the audio version is the fact that I could not really understand what the people from Malawi were saying when they spoke. I still think that hearing their voices added to the story regardless. Martha was easier to understand but I didn’t know what the father was saying. I don’t know how their words could have been translated without being extremely disruptive to the story so I guess it only makes sense that it was left in as is.

Reaction post- Basic Principles

March 2, 2009

In my opinion, two of the most important ideas brought up in the Basic Principles of Online Journalism are brevity and scannability. Typically I am surfing online while engaged in other activities. More often than not I am looking at stories between activities while I am at work or trying to look at something quickly while taking care of my son. I rarely am online for the sole purpose of reading a story. While there are blogs and news sites that I visit with some regularity, normally I’m going to look something up, or check my email and a headline will catch my eye.

If there are other people like me, and I believe there are many, usually reading a story is treated almost like a distraction. I need to get the important information from the story in as little time as possible. This is what makes a brief story and a story that is easy to scan so important. I like the idea that brevity does not necessarily mean shortening the story, but can also mean breaking up the story in a way that makes it easier for users to read.

The other principles highlight the fact that  information on the web is adaptable and in a way can be tailored to meet the needs of each user. A brief, scannable story is the most important thing to me because I don’t have much time. A story with a lot of ways to interact with the story may be more important to someone who has more time to explore various links. The ability to post comments is often important to people particularly interested in a specific topic. With online journalism, the author has the ability to create all of these stories in one.

Reaction-Gawker

February 8, 2009

Gawker.com is a gossip blog. Although on the syllabus it is listed as a celebrity gossip site, after looking over the posts I found it to be less of a celebrity gossip site than sites like perezhilton.com and more of an entertainment news site. There were a number of posts that were not about actual celebrities, but about other people who were in the news for one reason or another such as the post about a comic book convention in New York or the post entitled “Kreepie Kats” which was about a comic strip. There were also a number of posts that dealt with politicians such as the post about a reporter being pushed around by a politician’s body guard. I also noticed that Brian Stelter is mentioned in the post entitled “Twitterin’ in the Rain”.

Most of the posts were interesting because as opposed to simply breaking a gossip story they typically take a funny approach to reporting something that we may already know about. For instance, there were a number of posts about Michael Phelps but they each had their own humorous angle. A few of the posts were not as interesting to me because I wasn’t familiar with the person that the post was about especially when that person wasn’t a celebrity.

German Bakery Story vs. Slideshow

February 3, 2009

The Baltimore Sun German Bakery slideshow helps to enhance the reader’s understanding by placing him inside of the bakery to get a real feel for what is happening in the article. The two pieces work together to provide a full understanding of the bakery’s history and character.

The written article gives more of an in depth look at the life of the bakery than the slideshow. Through the article, the writer can lay out the history of how the bakery was started. She can tie in the history of Germans in Baltimore and present the various characters in the story, their backgrounds and importance.

The slideshow serves as an enhancement piece to the article. The slideshow is not able to offer much background or history about the bakery, but the slideshow lets the reader experience more of the bakery than the story. Instead of simply reading about the bakery, the reader becomes a participant who is able to hear the sounds of the music, see the bakery’s patrons, and hear the German accents. Although the article could stand alone, the slide show enhances the readers understanding by providing a real look at what the writer is trying to show.