Columbia Journalism School

7/3/12 | VIDEO

Profiles in Storytelling: Multimedia Narratives at The New York Times

Part of the occasional duPont Awards multimedia series, "Profiles in Storytelling."

Four New York Times staff members working in multimedia--the multimedia editor, photo editor, staff photographer and multimedia producer--share how multimedia packages are conceived and some of their tips on the essentials of digital storytelling.

At The New York Times, multimedia packages can come together in several ways. A reporter might approach the team of photographers and editors during the conceptual stages of a written piece to game-plan a multimedia package. Most packages include photography, video and sometimes interactive features.

The aim is to humanize the issues and immerse the reader in the emotions of an event through the actual sounds and voices of the written story’s characters. “A Year At War,” which won a duPont Award in January, is an example of a project that began with a reporter, James Dao, and gained momentum when brought to the multimedia team.  

The multimedia department also spearheads digital-only projects or accompaniments to a print story. A recently published multimedia piece that compliments a weekend arts story is “Build a Pop Song,” which features a twist on an interactive feature that engages and teaches a digital reader. Most digital viewers may be more familiar with interactive maps, timelines and panoramas.

Whether multimedia is designed in collaboration with print reporters or primarily within the multimedia department, there’s only one place it shines: online. At the videos, audio and photo-only slideshows, and evolving interactives are integrated with print stories, but are becoming singular destinations for digital storytelling. It’s a more time-consuming process, but the bottom line is multimedia is taking readers a step further in their consumption of news and information. 

Reported by Monica Alba

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