Saturday, March 22, 2008

Writing compelling stories and new multimedia approaches in journalism

Finally. After more than a two-week hiatus and while taking my 15-minute break from transcribing an interview for a story for the April issue of the PJR Reports, I am back blogging again. I was planning to do a post something about Lent, but I got drained from trying to master singing the Pasyon overnight from our family's Pabasa activity. I guess knowing how to sing a song or two in the karaoke machine does not mean you can also be Pabasa's next singing sensation.

Anyway, Poynter Online--that informative resource tool for journalists--shares tips and suggestions from some of the best journalists in the United States on how to write compelling and outstanding stories.

Anne Hull, Dana Priest and others provide insider accounts. Plus: Roy Clark reports on the Benton blogging curve and Mallary Tenore blogs the conference.
By Bill Kirtz (more by author)
Professor, Northeastern University
Source: Poynter Online

Details. Details. Details. Top writers and editors last weekend called them the engine that drives every compelling story.

Their comments came at the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism in Boston, March 14-16. Speakers offered tips on dramatizing investigations, doing narrative on deadline, identifying writing flaws and enhancing stories with multimedia.

Read more here.

Aside from talking about the importance of detail in writing wonderful narrative stories and using the right verbs, quote and attribution, Kirtz also discussed the pros and cons of multimedia storytelling. New York Times multimedia editor Andrew DeVigal, according to Kirtz, called new media as just a platform. "Story and story-telling hasn't changed," DeVigal said.

Talking about journalism in the age of new media, here's an article I wrote last year based on veteran journalist Sheila Coronel's presentation about new multimedia approaches in doing in-depth and investigative journalism.

Where three -or more- is not a crowd
A New Way of Reporting the News

by Hector Bryant L. Macale
Source: PJR Reports August 2007 issue

Faced by dwindling revenues and staff downsizing, should news organizations—the traditional gatekeepers of the news—be afraid of a world where blogs and citizen journalism have become increasingly important?

The future of journalism remains hotly debated among members of the press. Yet, news organizations may yet learn a thing or two from the new trends and techniques in which the news is being researched, reported, and presented.

“It’s a revolutionary moment in journalism. There is room for all kinds of experimentation now,” said journalist Sheila Coronel during her presentation on new trends in investigative reporting before a group of journalists last July 13. It was Coronel’s first visit to Manila since she assumed the post of inaugural director of The Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at the Columbia University in the United States last year.

The first and one of only three Hall of Famers of the Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence in Journalism, Coronel is a co-founder of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism where she served as executive director for 16 years.

“The business models that supported journalism for the longest time, especially print journalism—which are circu-lation and advertising that allowed newspapers to get revenues—are slowly crumbling and possibly collapsing,” Coronel said, adding, “Many newspapers are losing their circulation.”

Moving to new media

The changes not only affect the print medium but the broadcast medium as well. If the average newspaper reader in the US is 50 years old, Coronel said, the average viewer, say of global TV news giant CNN, is 60 years old.

“The audience for the so-called mainstream media is dimi-nishing,” she said, adding, “That is why the revenues that have sustained mainstream media operations for so long are slowly moving to new media.”

As consumers leave the traditional forms of media, advertisers follow them to the online medium where user-generated content is king. The power to act as information’s gatekeeper is devolving increasingly to the audience. No longer the monopoly of news managers and editors, new journalism involves greater participation among consumers in any aspect—research, writing, and distribution, according to Coronel.

“We don’t exactly know where things are going,” she said, adding that the source of news and information is currently shaped by both the press and the consumers every second.

The idea of who the journalist is is also increasingly being contested. The audience now is not just a consumer of news “but also a producer of stories.”

Read more here.


luthien said...

"No longer the monopoly of news managers and editors, new journalism involves greater participation among consumers in any aspect—research, writing, and distribution, according to Coronel."

are bloggers considered as journalists? this is one question that a lot of people ask. a lot of bloggers say they are journalists. however, even i cannot answer that because my concept or definition of "what is a journalist " is now being challenged since i exist as both, a blogger and a traditional medium journalist. (i became a blogger first before i became a slave, este, journalist.

other traditional journalists think bloggers cannot be called journalists. feeling ko other journalists feel "threatened" by blogging and citizen journalism as you have discussed. one journalist even went as far as declaring it is "dangerous" for "untrained" people to take on that role of being the watchdog, etc. etc. can't remember where i read/heard that.

this evolution of source-medium-gatekeeper dynamics in the era of web 2.0 has left traditional journalists/editors skeptical of the rise of the blogs and other user-generated content form (vlogs and the like). i've heard one editor (not from us) dismissing bloggers as attention-seeking ____. (well, in one particular case that was true. the blogger was being self-important...oh well some other time i'll blog about it).

other bloggers naman feel that they can take over the jobs of people like me and dismiss us as something already irrelevant, untrustworthy, biased and corrupt beings and that the traditional media like print will not be needed anymore in the near future.

siguro i'm reading the wrong materials or blogs but it seems to me that people still cannot reconcile the fact that the two forms of media can co-exist peacefully. lagi ko kasing nababasa is animosity between the two camps. (oh dear, i should stop reading that b. gorrell blog *snicker snicker*). seriously, as i've written in my blog a couple of days ago (and another entry last year) that there is some way that traditional journalists can harness the rich sea of news sources that the new media provide and at the same time bloggers (or amateur journos) can tap the skills of traditional journalists that are well-versed in the gate-keeping mechanisms of their turf to generate reliable contents. as coronel said, we're still at the experimental stage. who knows what may happen.

on hindsight, there are content generators (i.e. bloggers) who do not like to be edited...

what i'm getting at? i don't know, really. it's a long-winded comment to your entry but the reality is i'm also stuck.

bryant said...

Naku, luthien. Thanks for your post. I think the length of your post reflects how the issue--are bloggers journalists too--has become a major question or concern. I think this deserves an entry in the near future, but what I can quickly say now is that journalists and bloggers don't have to be pitted against each other. There are ways how the MSM media can benefit from bloggers and citizen journalists, and vice-versa.

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