COMPUTER + REPORTING Computer Assisted Reporting & Multimedia Storytelling BY UJJWAL ACHARYA WhiteHouse GSM / BLAS / Semester VII
Newsroom a few years ago… In 1998, when I joined Nepal Samacharpatra, the newsroom had no computers! Designers used computers – mostly Macintosh – to typeset/design pages. Reporters handwrote news! In 2001, I moved to The Kathmandu Post and was mesmerized to see computer on every desk.
Newsroom today Modern newsroom are incomplete without internet-connected computer terminals. Computers are used to write, edit and copy-edit. Page designers use computers to design pages and photojournalists use them to correct photos. More importantly, computers are increasingly used for performing core journalistic activities like newsgathering.
CAR Computer Assisted Reporting (CAR), sometime also called Computer Assisted Journalism (CAJ). CAR is the use of computers and social science methods to acquire and analyze information to do stories that otherwise would be difficult. CAR also refers to researching for new information and background for a story. CAR is closely tied to "precision" or "analytic" journalism, which refer to the use of techniques of the social sciences by journalists.
Why CAR? CAR enables us to publish stories obtained from datamining. CAR helps us create, or improve, the watchdog culture at our newspapers. A database, a spreadsheet, helps us get some stories that just cant be acquired any other way. They also help us add depth and detail that fascinate readers.
Be Warned! CAR does not make reporting faster! Proper use of CAR needs intermediate level computer skills. Computers do what you TELL them to do, not what you WANT them to do. Garbage In Garbage Out (GIGO) CAR is a supplementary of reporting!
4 Rs of CAR Reporting Use of computer/software to interview, gather primary information or data analysis Research Use of computer to search secondary information Reference Use of computer for checking facts, spelling etc. Rendezvous Getting tips from other in chatroom/social media Ron DeBrock (1999)
Email A medium of communication Advantages: Convenience: cuts distance / time / money Writer can edit messages. No requirement of being available at the same time. No transcription required. Archived! Disadvantages: Receiver may ignore it. No spontaneity as in the conversation.
Web Search How search engines like yahoo/google works? They have crawlers that regularly crawls webpages all over the internet and indexes words. When you enter a word, it then searches on the database and returns pages with that word. Web search is weird! It’s like looking for a needle in an stadium, but there are ways to find the exact information you need.
Better Searching Use more words (six to eight is the best) Use unusual words (common are everywhere) Use phrases on quotation marks ―WhiteHouse GSM‖ Use mathematics WhiteHouse GSM means either of the words WhiteHouse+GSM means both words ―WhiteHouse GSM‖ means the exact word WhiteHouse-GSM means WhiteHouse but not GSM
Google is more… Unit/Currency Converter 41 lbs in kg or 50 meters in feet 100 NPR in USD or 100 GBP in INR Sports scores Just type name of the club Manchester United or Chelsea World Wide Clock Time Kathmandu or Time New York (current time) Calculator 13+45-65= or 5*9+(sqrt 10)^3=
Reference Dictionary Type define followed the word you want meaning of in Google and it will produce you meaning from various dictionaries Example: define:rendezvous Wikipedia Great source of information but needed to treated with caution WordWeb Available at wordweb.info
Reporting for Online MediaMultimedia Story Telling
Writing for the Web Writing for Online Media? KISS (Keep it short and simple) paragraphs Use informative subheadings Link to other articles/sites you’re referencing Use bulleted lists to break things up Meant to be published and updated Includes list of relevant links
Writing for the Web Combine print and broadcast styles As in stories for print: Inverted pyramid style Write to be read rather than heard Like in stories to broadcast: Conversational tone Short, declarative sentences / simple words Immediacy is important
Multimedia Storytelling A multimedia story is some combination of text, still photographs, video clips, audio, graphics and interactivity presented on a Web site in a nonlinear format in which the information in each medium is complementary not redundant. Nonlinear means that rather than reading a rigidly structured single narrative, the user chooses how to navigate through the elements of a story. Not redundant means that rather than having a text version of a story accompanied by a video clip that essentially tells the same story, different parts of a story are told using different media.
Multimedia Storytelling Choosing a story The best multimedia stories are multidimensional Video, audio, graphics/charts Nonlinear stories are better Stories that have tid-bits
Creating a storyboard A storyboard of multimedia possibilities created before heading out into the field. Conduct preliminary research. Collect already available visuals - photos, videos, maps and graphics - from your sources. Identification Video best to show the action Best to interviews Text always essential Graphs/charts best for data Photo best to show the emotion
Editing Unlike other journalism, here editing comes before writing (audio/video editing) Videos/Audios need to be clear and short Basically internet videos are low frame rate (fps) so action-packed videos looks poor No background music and sfx for audio Audio should be high-quality and if possible with subtitles Photos can be used as individual image or slide shows Maps can have clickable areas/zooming feature
Producing Multimedia Story Multimedia journalists have multiple editors: There are your actual editors, and then there are your designers and Web developers. You can’t— and aren’t usually expected to—do it all yourself. Developers/designers fine-tune the layout, help with technical glitches and make sure the presentation follows the sites style.