the kdmcinfo weblog

3 things you'll be able to do after our workshops

Often times, organizations like us, who put on training workshops, hype up all of the features of our programs. During two weeks with us, you will get to learn this tool and talk to that person — that sort of thing. The problem is for someone like you, who might be considering coming to a workshop like the Multimedia Storytelling Institute, what does that really mean? On the Monday after a workshop, what will you be able to do that you couldn't before?

As we've mentioned before, the KDMC Multimedia Storytelling Institute is an opportunity to learn critical skills at one of the world's premier centers for applied digital communications. It's an intensive, two-week program to help you develop skills to deliver compelling, multi-platform content for lasting journalism. After the workshop, when you go back to your office or newsrooms, this is what you'll be able to do:

Produce Visual Stories Using Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X

For better or worse, multimedia journalism is synonymous with visual storytelling. The consumption of photos and video online continues to steadily grow. 179 million U.S. Internet users watched nearly 38 billion videos online in February, according to comScore. With basic camera skills, you can use programs like Photoshop and Final Cut Pro X to produce professional-level videos and slideshows.

Eric Seals, who attended our May 2008 Multimedia Training, is a multimedia producer for the Detroit Free Press and perhaps one of our more prolific visual storytelling alumni. His work artfully fuses still images and videos. In the past few years, Seals has won numerous state and national awards for his photojournalism and video storytelling, including several Michigan Emmys for his video pieces and a national Webby Award. Below are two of his videos.

Create Data Visualizations, Interactive Databases and Maps

We live in an era of Big Data, and people are hungry it. The Texas Tribune has found that searchable databases on politics, government salaries and other subjects generate around two-thirds of it's traffic.

Imagine you have a spreadsheet of campaign contributions or crime statistics that you want to share. For years, you had to pay for a service or know how to code to build searchable databases of that information. With open-source tools like Google Refine and our very own freeDive, we teach you that you no longer have to do that.

Tasneem Raja, an alumna of our December 2010 Interactive Census Workshop, is the digital interactive editor of Mother Jones magazine. Recently, she utilized Google's Fusion Table tool to visualize the 164 different anti-immigration laws that have been passed throughout the country since 2010. With so many laws, publishing the story with a map allowed Raja to present an immense amount of information in a clear and accessible manner.

The ability to present information in a clear and accessible manner was one of our motivations for building freeDive, a tool that uses the Google Visualization API to let non-programmers create user searchable databases. Within weeks of launch, fellows at the Salt Lake City Tribune, Bergen County Record and WPTV in Tampa Bay all published with databases built with freeDive. WPTV's, for example, published a database of all the doctors in the Tampa area who have lost their medical licenses but still continue to treat patients.

Strategize Stories Across Media

Despite the apparent destruction of our industry, we live in a rich time for journalism. The former Washington Post editor recently said more people consume Post journalism than ever before — and that's due, in large part, to the variety of media across which his team could tell stories. To do that effectively you need to know what story is best told in which medium.

Alejandro Lazo, a business reporter for the Los Angeles Times, recently reported a story about real estate investment in a Southern California neighborhood called Highland Park. An alumnus of our January 2012 Digital Storytelling Workshop, he wrote a 1,100-word article and produced a 4-minute-long video that lead the story. Lazo is a long-time print reporter and learned many of the video skills during his week with us.

The video offered visual evidence of the trend that Lazo was reporting on in his text article; the text piece provided context and statistics that Lazo couldn't have incorporated into the video. The two elements combined produced a strong, multi-sensory story on a level that a lone medium could not have accomplished. But, as one man effectively producing two different stories at once, Lazo needed to be able to know when to scribble in his notebook and when to pull out the camera.

"I reported the print first and then shot the video," Lazo said. "It's a good way to do it starting out, I think, because then you have a better sense of what you are going to shoot, and you have the print story behind you. You can focus on getting good shots and audio and you're not so worried about setting scenes in your notebook."

Lazo said the end product received 10 as many views as other business videos at the Times.

Receive Continued Support from the KDMC at UC Berkeley

In two weeks at our summer Multimedia Storytelling Institute, we'll throw a lot at our fellows. We'll teach them everything from basic camera operation to search-engine optimization to how to report with smartphones. We realize people can't remember every aspect of every session that we teach. That's why we've published hundreds of tutorials on our website that cover the content in our workshops, and participants the summer institute will take home an iPad filled with all of the materials from the workshop.

To see more about who we and what we do, watch this trailer from our last two digital storytelling workshops. Or, read more about our upcoming Multimedia Storytelling Institute in June.