Adding (Multi) Media to the Web – Summary

Multimedia allows journalists to spread information using various types of media, such as sound, text, video and animation. With seemingly endless options for providing content, journalists need to be more critical and conceptual than ever before to ensure they are delivering the story in the best possible way.

Many news organizations compile photo galleries to store the  still images they use in their stories and many subscribe to wire image services like Reuters and the Associated Press to gain access to their vast array of photos. While working at Screen International, I helped compile the image gallery for their database.

Today, the majority of news organizations have at least one professional photographer and provide many of their images themselves. Web interactivity and advancing technology has exponentially increased the number of submissions by ordinary people with journalistic content and raw footage of events and situations they happen to be involved in. News organizations need to be extremely careful to maintain credibility by ensuring images are not doctored to skew a story or mislead the reader.

Along with still image, sound is also an important medium to consider for the web. As with images, journalists must maintain utmost credibility when it comes to using sound and must be sure to represent sound bites and other natural sounds as they actually are.

In terms of sound and journalism, podcasts have become increasingly popular and are very similar to blogging. Rather than dispensing information using text, podcasters use audio to deliver the news straight to listener’s ears. Chi City Sports uses podcasts to keep Chicago sports fans up-to-date on all the latest news.

Videos, graphics and interactive features are also great tools for adding multimedia to the web. One key thing to remember when adding video is that online audiences have a shorter attention span than viewers sitting down to watch a television program so content should be kept concise and to the point.

With all of the new features of multimedia, journalists have more outlets than ever to provide content. While journalists will not be able to be experts on all of these tools, it is important to understand the fundamentals and get creative!