Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling

The best multimedia stories are multi-dimensional. They include action for video, a process that can be illustrated with a graphic (e.g., "how tornadoes form"), strong quotes for video or audio, and/or powerful emotions for still photos and audio. They use the strengths of each medium to tell the story in a way that draws in readers.

Multimedia stories also are nonlinear. You engage readers by letting them choose which elements to read and when to read them.

Here are some initial reporting steps as you begin to develop a multimedia story.

  • Conduct preliminary interviews with sources, getting a basic idea of what to expect in the field, and looking up anything they have published.
  • Collect a variety of visuals such as photographs, videos, maps and graphics.
  • As you choose your story, avoid thinking of the "first part," "second part," etc. Instead, think of "this part" and "that part." Then consider what media you will use to tell each part.

Taken from Five Steps to Multimedia Storytelling, a self-directed course by Jane Stevens at Poynter NewsU.

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    Vicki Krueger

    Vicki Krueger has worked with The Poynter Institute for more than 20 years in roles from editor to director of interactive learning and her current position as marketing communications manager.


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