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
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:
- In Jennifer's Room
- The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers
- Suspect America
- Who Owns the Fish?
- The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden
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:
- Kinetic typography as a storytelling technique - Lauren Rabaino, 10,000 Words, 10/14/2010
- Warning: This Article Contains Graphic Journalism - Truthout, 8/10/2011
- News organizations experiment with ‘illustrated storytelling’ — a new way to tell serious stories - Al Tompkins, Poynter, 3/20/2013
- How news can compete with cat videos: 6 lessons for multimedia journalists - Carrie Ching, Poynter, 4/5/2013