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Enhanced storytelling: Journalism in the visual era

News media are entering an increasingly visual age. New technologies are providing the opportunity to enhance and expand news content beyond traditional barriers to create deeper, more immersive experiences for our readers.

“In a decade, Sydney will be home to an extra 1.3 million people. How we accommodate them is causing angst in our suburbs and presents a huge challenge to government.”

This statistics-heavy report by The Sydney Morning Herald was made more accessible and engaging through the use of interactive visuals interspersed with video, animated graphs, maps and photography.

When the Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire in early 2019, The Guardian created an interactive visual timeline for readers to explore the impact of the blaze.

The inclusion of annotated diagrams and maps helped readers unfamiliar with the layout of Paris and Notre Dame to get a sense of how the fire developed.

 

 

This feature on tsunamis by The Australian shows the ability of interactive infographics to help communicate complicated processes (such as the formation of a tsunami) to audiences.


The Australian Financial Review consistently employs visual journalism to tell complicated stories about the economy, business and society. One example is the annual Financial Review Sports Rich List, which uses video and interactive on-site elements (such as scrollable, searchable lists) to turn a list of numbers into an entertaining read. This kind of content also translates well to social media platforms, where video stories outperform text-only posts.

 

Visual journalism augments the written form by providing deeper immersion in our storytelling.

This can take many forms:

  • Audio content, such as snippets of voice embedded in an article viewed online
  • Geolocating, annotated maps, diagrams of locations
  • Illustrations, conceptual artwork, interactive artwork
  • QR codes and scannable elements that require reader engagement
  • Photos, photo stories and galleries
  • Virtual and augmented reality, video
  • Data visualisations and charts

New visual opportunities are also changing the face of newspapers. A recent example from the 2019 WAN-IFRA Print Innovation Awards was the redesign of Fuldaer Zeitung.

As the German publishers said, “We realised that the printed newspaper has to change if it wants to reach out for a future generation of readers. Not just a simple re-brush, but a fundamental change in presenting the news.”  

 

Read more about the changing news media landscape

The rise of paywalls on news media websites   

‘Sitting on a goldmine’: Innovative publishers rediscover value of archive material 

How subscription programs are engaging news media consumers

What is the new Apple news media subscription service all about? 

Here’s why podcasts work so well for news publishers

Should news media subscriptions be tax-deductible?  

Changes to cookies may have major ramifications for digital advertising 

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