Tips to being A Multimedia Journalist

Multimedia journalism is different to other types of journalism. It is based on the principal that the story should be created around the media, rather than the media being created around the story.

But multimedia journalism is a bit of a mixed bag. How do you know which stories should be enhanced with multimedia? And how can you ensure you’re skill sets with multimedia platforms remain up-to-date?

Fairfax media officials explain their handy hints of the trade.

TIP 1: KNOW WHAT STORIES ADD MULTIMEDIA CONTENT

Simon Morris, Sydney Morning Herald’s Video News Editor, said: “You mustn’t just think about collecting facts; you’ve actually got to think visually alongside the factual research approach. You’ve also got to have an emotional intuitive – to know what will add power to their story, because in the end, that’s what it’s about.”

Here are some examples of where multimedia journalism can add to a story:

  • Reaction: add further depth or meaning to a story. This can be done through videos, audio or images of a person or group of people.
  • Information: charts, maps or graphics can turn meaningless, difficult or boring data into information that can be understood more easily.
  • Explanation: video, audio, charts or graphics can add additional explanatory information to content that is mentioned in a story.
  • Interactivity: users become more engaged when they can interact with a story. This can be done through spreadsheets, timelines, charts and maps.
  • Attribution: videos, audio and images can attribute words to a specific person.

TIP 2: NEVER BE AFRAID TO UPDATE YOUR SKILLS

Even if you have the best story to ever exist, you will never be able to give it the impact it deserves if you never upgrade (or learn) multimedia skills.

We somehow think that because we’re always at the breaking edge of technology, that we’re somehow up-to-date. But according to Moore’s law, the speed and advancement of technology doubles every two years. If a journalist falls behind this progression, they be subject to technological ignorance and isolation. This, in turn, may contribute to the inability of the journalist to successfully do their job.

After all, who would want to hire someone who only knows how to record audio material on tape?

The good news is there are now plenty of resources available to journalists in order to help us upgrade our skills. Notable materials include:

  • YouTube. This is the journalistic Holy Grail when it comes to finding tutorials on any skill a journalist wishes to tackle.
  • BBC Academy. BBC Academy features in-depth articles on how to improve journalist skill sets.
  • The Society of Professional Journalists. This foundation contains heaps of links helpful for journalists looking to advance their knowledge.
  • Google. If you don’t know how to do it, then it always helps to Google. This search engine can point you in the right direction – especially if the skill you want to upgrade or learn is more advanced or specialized.

TIP 3: GET INTO THE HABITS OF A MULTIMEDIA JOURNALIST.

  • Document everything.
    Editing video, audio and imagery together is easier when it is already an integrated part of your life. Therefore, turning the documentation of everyday items into multimedia projects will make the creation of newsroom items second nature. It’s also notable that although you may not be a professional, this habit will also help improve the skills of photography, filming and audio recording to a more proficient standard.
  • Start blogging.
    Writing a blog is a great way to practise using you multimedia skills, in a way that is both instantly beneficial and invigorating. Benefits include: becoming a better writer; increasing you online presence, and; learning in-demand skills. Notable blogging sites include WordPress, Blogger, Weebly, Penzu and Tumblr.

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