Illustrate with Words

Christy's Random Rants

Analysis of Las Vegas Sun’s Construction Deaths on the Strip March 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cnwedoe @ 4:08 am

Over an 18 month span 12 construction workers died while working on a $36 billion building boom on the Las Vegas Strip. In 2008 Las Vegas Sun reported on the construction deaths on the Las Vegas Strip in a multimedia package. There are many reasons why this multimedia package was so effective and won a Pulitzer Prize.

In chapter 1 or Foust, we learned about advantages of online journalism: audience control, time and place access, nonlinearity, storage and retrieval, unlimited space, immediacy, multimedia capability and audience participation. I think the Las Vegas Sun showed several good examples of these.

The story showed a good use of audience control. The user had more power to choose what information they wanted. In two segments (Construction Deaths and Accidents on the Strip) the user had a good amount of control because it had multiple options to choose from the sidebars. As the user you had the choice of which construction worker or building sites you wanted to know about.

Having the story located on the Internet made it easy to take advantage of the time, place and unlimited space. If it were in a newspaper you would be limited to how much space the story can take up and would only be able to access it in that one newspaper it was published in. Having it on the Internet allows the user to access it at anytime and almost any place. I tried accessing the story on my smartphone but it was hard to navigate.

Through good use of audience control you were able to tell the journalists designed the story in a nonlinear format. It allowed the user to access the story in any order, you didn’t have to read or use the interactive chronologically. Having the three key segments allowed the user to choose ones that interested them. They didn’t have to look at all three.

The arrangement of the story showed a great use of storage and retrieval. It stored a vast amount of information and made it easily retrievable. Each segment had the proper amount of information. It wasn’t overflowing in text. I was very impressed on how the Las Vegas Sun was able to create a memorable and moving story with a simple slide show, video and interactive. All three segments were able to tell the story in an effective way but showed it differently.

Through the different types of media (video, graphics, pictures and interactive) the Las Vegas Sun was able to create an emotional impact, add detail to the story and create a sense of imagery of how the accidents happened.

The video was able to create the emotional impact through the use of simple music and thoughtful words said by the worker’s loved ones. The video was needed because it showed the impact the deaths had. You wouldn’t be able to get that through the use of text. By using a video it showed audience participation because the people in the video were able to contribute more through stories they had about the construction workers.

The slide show was able to add detail to the story because you were able to analyze the picture and the caption. Instead of reading a regular online text format you could read the short captions and have a better understanding of what happened. It wasn’t information overload, it was clear and concise. I think the slide show was the most effective type of media in creating a mood to the story. You were able to analyze the picture for an unlimited amount of time and create a lasting impression. The pictures with the captions reminded me of September 11 stories I saw in magazines. The slide show was honoring and remembering the workers that died on the site in a respectful way.

The interactive created a sense of imagery on how the accidents occurred. I found this one to standout the most to me. I really liked how the graphics created an idea of how the deaths occurred. It created a strong mental image. I liked how in for each construction worker and area of the strip you got to read about an OSHA report and a follow up on that incident. Having those helped me understand the safety violations and the severity of these accidents.

The story had links to other stories related to the accidents below the story itself. It was good but had a lot of links and felt kind of overwhelming. I liked how they had links to biographies on the construction worker you clicked on in the interactive.   The story is somewhat kept up to date but there aren’t any links to other articles after 2010. I would put yearly updates on the site. Overall I understand why this story is award winning and shows the advantages of online journalism.


5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling March 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cnwedoe @ 6:06 pm

I took the 5 Steps to Multimedia Storytelling course from the Poynter’s News University site. The course was informative, interesting and a refresher on using a good reporting process.

I chose this course because since taking this class we have learned that online media writing is similar to print media but does have some differences that really set it apart.

The five steps it follows are choosing a story, making a story board, reporting with multimedia,editing for the web and producing the story. The process is similar to print media’s process of creating a story but there are several things you have to consider.

Some things that stood out to me was the process of making a story board and editing for the web. In Media Writing we talked briefly about what goes into making a storyboard but I never knew how intricate it is to create one for multimedia.

You have to consider three important parts when creating your storyboard:

  • Define the Elements- Divide your story into nonlinear parts and consider every detail of your story. Create a paragraph explaining the focus of your story, a “nut graf.” Create profiles of main characters, define the main event, look at pros and cons, examine the background of the situation and look at the process of how something works.
  • Identify the Media- Look at your 6 key options: video, photography, audio,  maps, animated graphs and text. Choose more than 2 of those options to use when telling your story.
  • Storyboard the Concept- On a scratch piece of paper sketch out the main story page and elements it will include. Also consider what multimedia element you will want to include on the main page as the establishing visuals.

When editing your story for the web you have to consider the little  things for the media outlets you used. For example make sure your videos are 1 to 2 minutes in length, no longer or when using audio use subtitles to reinforce important ideas or messages.

The most interesting statement was the suggestion that a writer should save their text for last. Focus on other outlets because the text should only provide information they weren’t able to put in audio, photos, videos, maps or graphics.

Two articles I found that followed these steps well were The Dragon Children and Being a Black Man. I choose these two from the examples and resources page at the end of the course.

After reading both these articles I could tell they saved the text for last. They have more important information in their videos, animated graphics and audio. Since both stories have so much information it was smart to use multiple media outlets.

Looking at a computer screen for long periods of time from reading text can strain your eyes and can sometimes create a headache. Both sites were smart and created short videos, audio and used photos to create a mood to the story. The stories seem well-organized and structured too simply looking at the layouts. I liked how the stories were nonlinear because it let me as a reader control how I read the story.


Top 5 Favorite Minneapolis Eateries March 14, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Cnwedoe @ 6:36 pm

I am a Midwest girl at heart. In the summer I dedicate a lot of my time in Minneapolis to finding fun, new and creative restaurants. Three years ago my dad and I started saving articles from the Taste section in the Star Tribune. Once a week we would pick a new place and try their most popular dish on the menu and another dish that would interest us. Since then we have tried so many places its hard to keep track. The 5 on this list are from some of those articles but have also been favorites for many years. My top 5 picks are Stella’s, Rustica, Black Sheep Pizza, Matt’s Bar and Bryant Lake Bowl.

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