the sally sisson blog


February 8, 2013

Snow Fall: An exceptional piece of interactive multimedia journalism

Interactive multimedia content

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, by John Branch

Captivating.

This is one of the most impressive interactive news stories I’ve seen. Click the picture above and experience it for yourself. Grab a cup of hot chocolate and watch the whole thing. Trust me, it’s that well done.

Behind the scenes.

It took more than 11 staffers at the New York Times more than six months to complete. One can only imagine the budget. To learn how this interactive news story was made, read this Q & A with the graphics director, multimedia producer, video journalist and editor who worked on the project:

How We Made Snowfall:
A Q & A with the New York Times team

“The New York Times’ astonishing Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, launched in the final days of 2012, capped a year of extraordinary work in interactive journalism, both at the Times and in newsrooms around the world. In the six days after Snow Fall’s launch on December 20th, 2012, it had received more than 3.5 million page views and 2.9 million visitors, nearly a third of whom were new visitors to the Times website.”

Disclaimer from an armchair reporter

I am neither an adventurous skiier, nor an adventurous sports person of any sort. But as a young girl I spent many weekends on the bunny slope at Stevens Pass, the setting of this story. I remember stories of my older brothers skiing at Seventh Heaven, as well as stories about my dad almost dying while climbing Mount Rainier.

My family moved from Seattle to Boston when I was five years old, and I spent occasional winter weekends on intermediate slopes while friends raced down black diamonds.

But I admire great storytelling and was quickly drawn in by this piece. I am excited to see what this team, and others like it, come up with next.

Best wrap-up I’ve read

The Atlantic: ‘Snow Fall’ Isn’t the Future of Journalism
Journalists will continue to find more options and build more tools to astonish us. Stuff like this will get better and better and slightly more frequent, one hopes. But it won’t become, generally speaking, frequent….

Give “Snow Fall” the respect it deserves. It doesn’t need to bear the augury of “journalism of the future.” It’s just a rare and sensational gift for readers in the present. That’s quite enough.

 

 

 

 

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February 5, 2013

Creative Inspiration: Finding your bliss (on a bleak February day)

He Was Me: The power of storytelling

A sweet (yet powerful) little ditty on doing what you love. If not for a living, then at least for a while each day.

This FableSnack, a short animated film from the prolific folks at FableVision, is about “the inner child in all of us, and the eternal struggle to retain our sense of self in a busy world.” It reminds us to not “trade joy for a job,” as FableVision’s Paul Reynolds puts it. Not always easy, but always worth remembering.

It was written and drawn by the talented Peter H. Reynolds, author and illustrator of The Dot, Ish and dozens of other delightful children’s books and multimedia products.

I knew Peter, founder of FableVision, and his twin brother Paul, now CEO, back in our college days and had a hunch they’d go on to do great things. Doing such inspired and meaningful work on such a grand scale is a great thing indeed. Being rockstar media producers and such nice, grounded people at the same time is even greater.

Read their story here:

About FableVision
In 1996, FableVision’s founder, Peter H. Reynolds, had a vision: to create a “social change agency” to help move the world to a better place. FableVision is dedicated to helping ALL learners reach their full potential and to telling “stories that matter, stories that move.”

…and get inspired yourself!

The Stellar Cafe
The Dot FableVisionInsights gathered along the journey about creativity, art, teaching, learning, life – Peter H. Reynolds

Peter’s Tips on Creativity
Creative thinking is the fuel for getting things going. Dreaming about the project is a huge part of the process. The actual ‘doing’ requires following through on the dream, but the dream is the rough sketch.

A Film by FableVision Studios: He Was Me
Written and drawn by Peter H. Reynolds, He Was Me is a quiet story about the inner child in all of us, and the eternal struggle to retain our sense of self in a busy world. In the film, as a man waits at a bus stop in the rain, his inner child is brought poignantly to life as he reflects on his past and ponders his future.

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January 24, 2011

The Life (and Death?) of STORYTELLING: Ten top posts of 2010

image from getstoried.com
image from getstoried.com

Once upon a time… storytelling was the domain of kindergarten classrooms and creative writing courses. Over the past decade it’s found its way into advertising, marketing and business consulting, and countless articles on all of the above.

Stories inspire and connect us. From ancient cave paintings to Super Bowl commercials to transmedia storytelling, they illustrate, resonate and—when done well—stick with us for a long time.

Here are some of my top picks on the topic. Instead of synthesizing what’s already been written so well, I’ll let these speak for themselves.

1. Harvard Business Review: The Power of Storytelling

In a conversation with HBR, Robert McKee, the world’s best-known screenwriting lecturer, argues that executives can engage people in a much deeper—and ultimately more convincing—way if they toss out their PowerPoint slides and memos and learn to tell good stories.

2. Copyblogger: How to Captivate Your Audience with Story (From America’s Greatest Living Playwright)

There’s been a fevered interest in the art of storytelling among the marketing crowd recently. We are told that story—applied to salesmanship, preaching, advertising, conversation, marketing, songwriting, and blogging—contains the power to deliver the world to the deft storyteller’s door. But what is a well-told story? Take a lesson from David Mamet.

3. Chris Brogan: Storytelling for Business

Stories are how we learn best. We absorb numbers and facts and details, but we keep them all glued into our heads with stories.

4. Smashing Magazine: Better User Experience with Storytelling

Our information…has become watered down, cloned, and is churned out quickly in 140-character blurbs. We’ve lost that personal touch where we find an emotional connection that makes us care. Using storytelling, however, we can pull these fragments together into a common thread. We can connect as real people, not just computers.

5. Ten Ways to Story Your Business (or Product or Brand)

Nine wise tips, plus #10: Remember that if you don’t tell your story, your story will probably get told for you—in a way that may damage your business.

image from semanticstudios.com
image from semanticstudios.com
6. Content Rules: What Does Business Have to Do With Storytelling?

The idea of storytelling as it applies to business isn’t about spinning a yarn or fairytale. Rather, it’s about how your business exists in the real world: how people use your products—how they add value to people’s lives, ease their troubles, help shoulder their burdens, and meet their needs.

7. Mark Levy: Telling the Same Story Differently

An insightful post inspired by Matt Madden’s ingenius cartoon book “99 Ways to Tell a Story.”

8. Transmedia Storytelling: The Psychological Power of Story

The ultimate mashup of ancient traditions and new communications models.

9. Harvard Business Review: When Storytelling Isn’t Enough

Fast Company founder Alan Webber says storytelling is overrated and declares, “Content isn’t king, context is king!”

10. Bite: The Death of Storytelling?

“We are all striving to tell stories. But are we making more noise than news?”

What do you think?

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