This website was created to document my research into multimedia storytelling as part of my masters degree in media production at Ryerson University.
Just what qualifies as “multimedia” isn’t always agreed upon. Is it just a photo slideshow or video on a newspaper website? Is it a video that uses photos combined with music and a narrator? Is it a text article that has a video interview with the author embedded at the end? Is it a non-linear interactive documentary? For this site, I looked for stories that combined different forms of media together in a single narrative in an innovative way. Just being interactive or tacking on multimedia extras wasn’t enough. I wanted stories that used different forms of media to express different things: a video of a subject talking about a personal matter combined with text that explains the wider context for example.
The stories were assessed according to five criteria. First, how are different forms of media employed? When different types of content can be presented in different ways using video, audio, text, images, or some combination of these, creators must choose which forms of media to use for which content. Second, how are the different forms integrated? When different forms of media are used in the same story, finding a way to thread the narrative through them is crucial to maintaining a consistent story that is easy and enjoyable for the user to follow. For example, how does a story connect text to video or audio content without overly disrupting the flow of the narrative? Third, how is navigation done? When a narrative contains a variety of elements that are not necessarily presented in a linear fashion, being able to easily move from one part of the story to another becomes crucial. Menus and links to other sections need to be clear. Fourth, how innovative is the project? Multimedia stories are often created by traditional media produces such as newspaper journalists or documentarians who often use the same techniques they have always used. But the digital space allows creators to break with traditional storytelling methods to create something very different. Fifth, how engaging is the overall storytelling? New technology will only take a story so far. The best multimedia storytelling is just that, good storytelling.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of multimedia stories. It’s just a small selection of what I found noteworthy for one reason or another.
The section on elements lists the various techniques used in the stories. The section on approaches lists some of the common methods used to create multimedia narratives.