Digestible multimedia journalism – what makes a project work

While perusing the Internet for good examples of multimedia journalism to model my upcoming projects after, I stumbled upon a package by the San Jose Mercury News  that chronicles the lives of people living in a soon-to-be torn-down trailer park in Sunnyvale, Calif. in 2007.

Marilyn Baker takes a rest while one of her grandsons Eric moves her belongings onto an U-Hall truck on May 30, 2007 at Flick’s Mobile Home Park in Sunnyvale. (Dai Sugano / Mercury News)

There were several things about the package’s composition that kept me watching.

  1. Dynamic alternation between still photos and video.
  2. Tasteful use of black and white and shadowy that seemed to match the sadness of the trailer park residents. Slow, minor-key background music was also present throughout the videos, but it didn’t distract from the message of the story.
  3. Whenever a question of detail came to mind, the pace of the video slowed and text materialized that explained why exactly the trailer park was being torn down, how long the residents had to move out, etc.  But the information wasn’t overburdening– it was concise.
  4. The video story’s sources showed contrast between the lives of a young family (even the family’s youngest daughter and how being uprooted from her area middle school and friends would be difficult at her age) and an elderly woman who didn’t have anywhere else to go.  The conflict and strife illustrated in this project spanned generations.

To take a look at this great example of multimedia journalism, click here.


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