Emily Kline and I attended the seminar “Telling stories through pictures: How news media builds on tradition” for extra credit. Although I expected the seminar to be informative, but very dry, it was actually interesting. The first speaker was Bill Douthitt, who is National Geographic Magazine’s managing editor for special editions. He spokes to us about creating a narrative through pictures. Some of his tips:
- The steps to creating a narrative: conceptualizing, organizing, and editing.
- It’s important to make judgement on instinct.
- Choose a subject you’re familiar with. Then images will be easier to acquire.
- If you’re creating a project for profit, make sure the subject is engaging and marketable.
- The key aspect of editing is juxtaposing the language of words with the language of images.
The second speaker was Megan Rossman, a specialist in new media who works for The Washington Post. She was a finalist for a pulitzer prize, and really knows how to format videos to tell a story. She spoke to us about developing many of her stories, and stressed the importance of choosing a story first, then deciding if it should be represented in print or video (not deciding you want to do a print or video piece, and then choosing a subject). Some advice Rossman gave:
- A successful audio slideshow has natural sound and interviews with strong “feeling quotes.”
- Interviewing for an audio or video piece is completely different than for a print story. For instance, while background information is important for clarification, it’s not as powerful for viewers as it may be in a print story.
- If you’re creating a video, you should use natural sound to break up an interview. Layer the sound by bringing in the natural sound underneath the interview.
- When your subject starts talking, you should show them so viewers know who is speaking.
Here is a video created by Rossmann for washingtonpost.com: