taxonomy of digital story packages

Animations & Illustrations

Some journalists are using various forms of animation and/or illustrations to tell stories online.

The Center for Investigative Reporting, has used a form of animation it calls "illustrated storytelling" to produce pieces on topics ranging from the price of gas to the environmental and other costs of eating hamburgers.

Another form of animation is known as kinetic typography - essentially text in motion. These stories are often created with the Adobe After Effects program, or sometimes the Flash animation program.

News organizations have experimented with kinetic typography because it is a more engaging or entertaining storytelling experience than a simple text presentation. It can be particularly effective as a way of highlighting important data or statistics.

Here are some examples of animated or illustrated stories:

The Price of Gas

Price of Gas

The Price of Gas was produced in June 2011 by the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch project to tell the story of the environmental and health impacts of using gasoline-powered vehicles.

The CIR has done other animations, including:

Powering a Nation

Powering a Nation

Powering a Nation was produced in 2009 by journalism students at the University of North Carolina as part of the News21 project in which journalism schools around the country experimented in new forms of online storytelling. The introductory video to the UNC project shown here is an example of the kinetic typography approach to telling a story using animated text and graphics.

All the Medalists: Men's 100-Meter Sprint


All the Medalists: Men’s 100-Meter Sprint is an animation the New York Times used to show how Olympic sprinters have become faster and faster over the decades.

Sources and resources on animations and illustrations: