Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Journalism prof's guide to multimedia journalism

... and, of course, to multimedia storytelling.

Mindy McAdams of the University of Florida blogged
on how journalists can "transform themselves," as she puts it, into multimedia journalists. She collected those 15 posts and put them in a PDF. It's available here, but it's long, so I thought I'd do a quick abstract, based at least in part on Mindy's text, to help. If you want more, see the whole document; it's pretty good stuff.

1. Read blogs and use RSS -- Read blogs, especially ones about online & multimedia, to help you understand changes in media, keep up with the changes, and adapt. Set up an RSS reader (e.g., Google Reader)

2. Start a blog -- Helps, or in some cases makes, you search for new information and connect with other online/multimedia sites & people.

3. Buy an audio recorder and learn to use it -- In our case, see Chris Glass. A number of you have added audio to your reporting/storytelling already. Anyway, audio adds another level to your work.

4. Start editing audio -- Again, some of you have done this here. Great. And you know it can be time consuming. But it's similar to editing your notes or notebook as you turn from reporting to writing ... so you already have some skills. As McAdams notes, this also forces you to broaden your computer skills, a necessity if you're embracing multimedia.

5. Listen to podcasts -- You need to hear good audio stories to have something to model yours on, to have something to shoot for.

6. Post an interview (or podcast) on your blog -- So you're saying, Blanchard, why haven't you posted an interview or podcast on your blog? Guilty. But this is another area where doing this forces you to broaden your journalistic skills.

7. Learn how to shoot decent photos -- Because, as McAdams says simply, every journalist ought to be able to get a basic spot news photo. You might be the only one there.

8. Learn how to crop, tone and optimize photos -- Check in with Chris or Brad on this one if you want to learn. Again, McAdams is approaching this from the standpoint of, if you're going to be a fully-developed multimedia journalist, you've got to know how to work with your own photos.

9. Add photos to your blog -- This is quite easy in Blogger, but Movable Type drives me up a wall. Maybe I'm doing something wrong ... but in any case, if you have a blog, try to get art on it the same as you would try to get art with a story in print.

10. Learn to use soundslides -- This is a different, and usually very cool, way of storytelling, and something that our photographers do very well. Making your own might even be fun.

11. Tell a good story with images and sound -- If you have a story that's worth telling this way, you ought to be able to pull it off.

12. Learn to shoot video -- The natural extension of No. 11.

13. Edit your video -- The natural extension of No. 12. Again, many of you have done this. Chris and Brad and probably others can coach you.

14. Publish your video on your blog -- Tom Joyce seems to have taken to this nicely. Blogs are better when they have more than just headlines and text. (I need to find a picture to go with this post).

15. Maintain/udpate your skills -- To crib from McAdams: Get over your fear, learn to fail, find good tutorials. From me: Keep pushing yourself. You're not going to master any or all of these things in a couple of weeks, or after one coaching session or a three-day seminar. But by making time to work at them, you'll first learn, then get better. That's the point.