, , ,

The really nice thing about the Internet is that one can basically combine all of our favorite news-acquiring methods (reading, watching, listening) onto one page. Chapter 10 of the text covers those different types of news-delivery systems (called “media”), as well as their various upsides and pitfalls.

The chapter emphasizes not just the different ways to incorporate media to a news site, but also knowing when is most appropriate to use each form of media. For example, footage of the devastating Joplin tornado, combined with audio recordings of interviews with survivors has a much stronger impact on someone searching for information about the disaster than a standard, text-only story. Similarly, poll graphics and interactive “vote” features have proved to be effective for communicating election news.

The chapter discusses the different tools for capturing great audio and video. They discussed different microphones, types of video cameras, and how to build graphics. Since many people are starting to multitask on their smart phones, a lot of companies are actually building tools and applications that you attach to your phone and turn it into a multi-tasking reporting tool. It just goes to show you don’t necessarily need multiple tools to capture a good story: as the chapter pointed out, sometimes the most compelling footage and audio is of the least-polished “shaky cam” variety.

It’s very easy to fill to a webpage with this gadget and that video and this endless loop of audio, but sensory additions for the sake of adding something alone can actually hurt your story and cost you viewers. The journalist or editor must judge which media can best “tell” the story–that is, in what way the reader can best absorb the news and feel compelled to return to the site for more information. Ultimately, the story needs to be the main point, not the media being used to bring it to the viewer.