Fundamentals of Multimedia Storytelling

How are media organizations taking advantage of the web’s immediacy, flexibility, capacity, permanence, and interactivity to create an altogether new type of narrative experience?

Immediacy – Stories can be posted in near real time and they can be told in greater context.

Flexibility – Stories can be told using words, images, audio, video, graphics, and animation, depending on the which does the job best.

Capacity – There are none of the traditional limits of space (print) or time (radio and television). There are also fewer cost barriers, opening the door for more independent content producers to create original content.

Permanence – Ongoing stories can be presented in their entirety as the Web offers vast archival options.

Interactivity – Journalists interact directly with the audience, feedback is immediate through comments, forums, chats. Increasingly online audiences are contributing directly to the story in the form of user-generated content.

Live Event Coverage – As it Happens

In times of rapidly developing news, many organizations are turning to use a “live blog” format, where they combine all media from their reporters, along with social media sources. Often news “breaks” on Twitter and other social media platforms

Traditional news outlets have made dramatic changes to their formats and delivery of breaking news, as in the example of natural and man-made emergencies. Online outlets use eyewitness accounts and provide in-depth context for unfolding stories.

Nice Attack – As it happens


Newtown School Shootings


Some of the first big stories to break on Twitter: the crash of US Airways flight 1549

January 15, 2009 – Hudson River crash-landing photo sent with Twitter.

May 1, 2011 – Rumors of Osama bin Laden’s death hit Twitter before President Obama makes the official announcement.

First, Pakistani Shohaib Athar, who was awoken by the sound of a helicopter above his house, tweeted about it, unknowingly breaking the news of the US raid on the compound in Abbottabad.

Keith Urbahn, a former aide to Donald Rumsfeld, tweeted this at 10:24 p.m.

Followed by a tweet from President Obama, at 11:30 p.m.

President Obama on Osama

Interactive, Immersive Multimedia

Special reports, documentaries, and experimental sites are exploring new technique to tell stories by combining media in innovative ways.


This long-form narrative about a Cascades avalanche won a Pulitzer for feature writing. It also featured some very creative uses of video and animation. The piece was created using tools/libraries that include jQuery, underscore, jPlayer, HTML5 video, jQuery Reel, and jQuery address.

The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail

This feature explores the mysterious and heartbreaking death of Song Yang, a 38-year-old Chinese sex worker on 40th Road.

The Pianist and the Lobster

Cracking the mystery of egg shape


Welcome to Pinepoint

This multimedia documentary about an old mining town that went belly up features many creative video clips, mixed with a range of other media: photos, graphics, and animations. The National Film Board of Canada is an excellent place to find innovative interactive

Boston Racism

The New Age of Walls

Dancing with the Stairs

Da Da Net


Photography plays a critical role in online storytelling and is no longer just the realm of photojournalists.

Syria’s Paradox: Why the War Only Ever Seems to Get Worse

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair

NYT: The Candy Issue

Winners of Close-Up Photographer of the Year

“(The waves of asylum-seekers) worry Europe much, much more than the issue of Greece and the stability of the euro.” — German Chancellor Angela Merkel


Omran Daqneesh, 5, sits alone in the back of the ambulance after getting injured during an air strike targeted the Qaterji neighborhood of Aleppo, Syria, on Aug.17.

Secret Charms and 7th Sons: ‘The Cure’ Is Alive and Well in Ireland

The South Korean Chefs Redefining the Art of Pastry

Most of the World’s Vaccines Likely Won’t Prevent Infection From Omicron

Find Your Perfect Beach

Reporters Notebook: Traveling in Europe’s River of Migrants

Refugees ride the train in Macedonia that takes them from the southern border with Greece to the northern border with Serbia.

Westminster Dog Show Pictures: In the Tent at Lyndhurst
Everything about this year’s competition was a little unusual, including the setting, the timing and the winner. But that made the whole event feel special

Along Afghanistan’s ‘highway of death,’ the bombs are gone but suffering has deepened

A Blind 78-Year-Old Magician Finds a New Stage: New York’s Subways

Year in the Subway

The Land That Failed to Fail

NYT – Voyages

CNN: Year in Pictures

Around the World in 24 Hours

The Ocean’s Biggest Garbage Pile Is Full of Floating Life
Researchers found that small sea creatures exist in equal number with pieces of plastic in parts of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which could have implications for cleaning up ocean pollution.

Watch the birdie: framing our feathered friends – in pictures

From wild parrots in the streets of Tokyo to charismatic pigeons and locked-down penguins, Gemma Padley invites us to look anew at life in the air by bringing together the world’s best bird photography

Panoramic, 3-D

Millions of Americans can trace their ancestry back to tenements like this one.

CNN Gigapixel


Houston, Before/After

Augmented Reality: David Bowie in Three Dimensions


Take a Tour of Lady Liberty’s Torch (Right This Second)


There have been an explosion of animated GIFs and super-short mp4s.

To Beat the Coronavirus, Build a Better Fence

Masks Work. Really. We’ll Show You How


christina_rinaldi_winnerLondon’s Saatchi Gallery teamed up with Google+ for the The Motion Photography Prize, the world’s first competition for artists working with animated GIFs. The winning entry, shown here, was by Brooklyn artist Christina Rinaldi.

These served as the opening animation for a NYTimes story.

Glitter in the Dark




Magnifying glass

Menaced by Mold | A Leaky System


The Year in Illustration 2022

The 2022 High School Yearbook of American Politics

The In Out List 2022

The Big Draw

Sketch Guy: Personal Finance on a Napkin
napkinfinanceIn this series of back-of-the-napkin drawings and posts, Carl Richards, a financial planner, explains the basics of money through simple graphs and diagrams.

Animated election

This is an innovative take on the action-packed journey to the 2012 election done in graphic novel form.

NYTimes en Espanol – Me vetaron en Venezuela por reportar su realidad



We will focus on unique digital uses of audio, rather than traditional radio reporting, using audio snippets, raw audio, interactive tools.

Three Weeks Inside a Pro-Trump QAnon Chat Room

8 Big Questions About AI

Quarantine Soundscapes

5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Sopranos

Listen to the soaring voices of Maria Callas, Jessye Norman, Leontyne Price, Renée Fleming and others

Why Do We Love TikTok Audio Memes? Call It ‘Brainfeel.’

Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony from the Jan. 6 hearing


Raw – ATC recordings
Flight 1549 – “We’re going to be in the Hudson.”

Some audio is so compelling, shocking, or unique as in the case of eyewitness testimony, 9-11 calls, and cockpit recordings that it can really place listeners at the scene.

Interactive audio

The Rapper-Singer

Touchstones is an interactive series in which New Yorker writers deconstruct groundbreaking works of art and culture. The format blends personal essay and cultural history. In this first installment, three music writers look back at the albums that shaped them as critics, and as people, in their formative years.

Bob Dylan Jam Sessions


Build a Pop Song

The Top 25 Songs That Matter




Full-screen, modular vignettes, interactive, collaborative, crowd-sourced, user-generated, live, raw, streamed, annotated, 360 and geolocated

e7JEmFpSCgqCYBRLppvw_nsaAfter breaking the NSA surveillance story, The Guardian produced an in-depth multimedia piece.

Phone, GoPro, Animation

Burn it Down

Short, Under 60 seconds
How to Catch a Polar Bear


The Chain of Failures That Left 17 Dead in a Bronx Apartment Fire
A Times investigation shows how a New York City high-rise became a deadly chimney of smoke.


The Luge


“Luge is often the fastest event in the Olympics — so fast that track designers for Sochi tried to slow it down.” —

Drone Footage

Drone Footage Shows Wuhan Under Lockdown


How a Visual Language Evolves as Our World Does

Signing Science


In this feature about the challenges of signing science terminology, 5-10 second video clips of an ASL interpreter accompany a longer 3-minute piece.


The Coming California Megastorm

These videos are “interactive” in the sense that the user has control or is a character in the story or decides the course of events.

Lie After Lie: Listen to How Trump Built His Alternate Reality

The Waiting Game

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Can You Make It in the Gig Economy

Mixed Media

National Identify is Made Up


Barcelona GO! from Rob Whitworth on Vimeo.


A Bear’s Eye View of Yellowstone


Silk Route


In this scrolling multimedia piece, short looped videos activate automatically when the viewer scrolls past. The 30-60 second clips are mixed in with still photography and geotagged to the map running alongside it.

360 Video

Fight for Fallujah
Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart

Social video

Buzzfeed – Tasty

Polly Wants a Video Chat

Interactive Graphics, Data Visualization

“Static visualizations have long been used to support storytelling, usually in the form of diagrams and charts embedded in a larger body of text. In this format, the text conveys the story, and the image typically provides supporting evidence or related details. An emerging class of visualizations attempts to combine narratives with interactive graphics. Storytellers, especially online journalists, are increasingly integrating complex visualizations into their narratives.”— Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data

Online data visualizations include interactive infographics, maps and timelines. They are used to illustrate stories in geographical space and over time. Often, interactive infographics explain very complicated concepts in a very compact amount of space.

How Do We Fix the Scandal That Is American Health Care?


Why So Many Children of Immigrants Rise to the Top

Using the data set, Professor Abramitzky and Professor Boustan were able to compare the income trajectories of immigrants’ children with those of people whose parents were born in the United States. The economists found that on average, the children of immigrants were exceptionally good at moving up the economic ladder.

WSJ: Fines for Unruly Passengers

The most unusual job market in modern American history, explained

2021 The Year in Charts

Pandemic Aid Programs Spur a Record Drop in Poverty

NYTimes Covid by County

City Covid Tracker

NYC Bus Drivers in Line of Fire as Some Riders Flout Mask Rules

What Data Shows About Vaccine Supply and Demand in the Most Vulnerable Places

How the Economy Is Actually Doing, in 9 Charts

How the Supply Chain Crisis Unfolded

Force Report

Five years. 72,677 documents. Every local police department in N.J. We built the most comprehensive statewide database of police use of force in the U.S.

National Unemployment


All the Presidents’ Meals

State dinners of the presidents visualized.

Earth Temperature Explainer

Queen Elizabeth II: A visual timeline of her 70 years on the throne

Economist Big Mac Index

Public opinion of OWS

The Language of the State of the Union

“An interactive chart reveals how the words presidents use reflect the twists and turns of American history.” – Atlantic Monthly

That Dinner Tab Has Soared. Here Are All the Reasons.

The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score
Across industries and incomes, more employees are being tracked, recorded and ranked. What is gained, companies say, is efficiency and accountability. What is lost?

Bussed Out

Workers’ Comp Benefits: How Much is a Limb Worth?

“If you suffer a permanent injury on the job, you’re typically entitled to compensation for the damage to your body and your future lost wages. But depending on the state, benefits for the same body part can differ dramatically.”

Interactive Tools

The Best and Worst Places to Grow Up: How Your Area Compares

“Children who grow up in some places go on to earn much more than they would if they grew up elsewhere.” —


Is It Better to Rent or Buy?

“The choice between buying a home and renting one is among the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. But the costs of buying are more varied and complicated than for renting, making it hard to tell which is a better deal. To help you answer this question, our calculator takes the most important costs associated with buying a house and computes the equivalent monthly rent.” —

Gimme Props

Gimme Props was an interactive quiz to help voters learn, and make decisions, about the many propositions on the California ballot.


It is often said that ‘information wants to be free,’ but it is even truer in the digital age that information wants to be analyzed, shared, synthesized, curated, aggregated, commented on and distributed. — Journalism Next, Mark Briggs

The Internet and social networks have opened up countless new ways for journalists to take the pulse of the nation and world. While aiming to avoid invasions of privacy, content on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and even Craigslist can be used to tell stories.


The Rhythm of Food

Top World Cup Players on Facebook Day to Day



Dissecting Elon Musk’s Tweets: Memes, Rants, Private Parts and Echo Chamber

The 258 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List


Gizmodo: Almost None of the Women in the Ashley Madison Database Ever Used the Site


“What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.” — Annalee Newitz

Mapping Stories

Trump vs. Biden: Who’s Winning the Money Race in Your ZIP Code?


Where American Men Aren’t Working


“It’s vastly more common today than it was decades ago for prime-age men not to be working. Across the country, 16 percent of such men are not working, be they officially unemployed or outside of the labor force — disabled, discouraged, retired, in school or taking care of family. That number has more than tripled since 1968.” —

Spies in the Skies

“America is being watched from above. Government surveillance planes routinely circle over most major cities — but usually take the weekends off.”

Losing Ground

“In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes — 16 square miles a year — due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River. At risk: Nearly all of the nation’s offshore oil and gas production, much of its seafood production, and millions of homes.” — ProPublica


A Rogue State Along Two Rivers


“The militant group called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, seemed to surprise many American and Iraqi officials with the recent gains it made in its violent campaign to create a new religious state. But the rapid-fire victories achieved over a few weeks in June were built on months of maneuvering along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.”

Quizzes, Polls, Games

Quiz: Can You Tell a ‘Trump’ Fridge From a ‘Biden’ Fridge?

Inside the Delirious Rise of ‘Superfake’ Handbags

Can You Answer These Sex Ed Questions? A Post-Roe Quiz

Are You Even Fun? A Mostly Unscientific Quiz.

Do you live on the edge of chaos, or is quietly people watching your idea of a good time? Are you doing it for the gram or for the actual fun of it?

Architecture, in Abstract: Quiz No. 2

What do you call a person who moves to another country in search of a better life?

Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway?

The US actor and the Libyan leader have produced some choice lines recently. Can you distinguish between them?

Which Terrifying Political Voice Said It?

Executioners vs. Veterinarians

“The Marshall Project compared two ways this country legally dispenses death: the execution of death-row prisoners and the euthanizing of incurably sick dogs and cats. See if you can guess which rules apply to which category of condemned creature.” — The Marshall Project


Spot the Ball



Feeling left out that Trump hasn’t gotten around to insulting you or your friends? Here’s an app for that. Built on the real-live insults taken from the would-be President’s Twitter feed, @RealDonaldTrump, the generator below provides a Trump insult for everyone.

Bustle flow charts


Collaborative: Crowd-sourcing & User-generated Content

Some of the most popular sites on the web today are those built by user-generated content: Wikipedia, YouTube, Flickr, Yelp, Vimeo, Instagram, SoundCloud, Pinterest. User-generated content means that some portion of the media is created by the user/viewer/reader.

20 Dreams for 2020

The internet and cell phone users have turned news into a social experience. In this new multi-platform media environment, people’s relationship to news is becoming portable, personalized, and participatory.

Increasing numbers of internet users contribute to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

News organizations are utilizing content from users for a wide range of purposes:
– To document a live or breaking news event, “eye-witness” or opinion
– To search for sources of information, story subjects or ideas
– To provide coverage from distinct perspectives
– To connect families during times of emergencies
– To take the pulse of the general public on a topic

Finding the Quiet City


Even in noisy New York, pockets of peace exist. The NYT asked readers to submit their favorite quiet spots in the noisy city.

Political Ads

politicaladsInteractive Documents

William Shakespeare, Playwright and Poet, Is Dead at 52

What might President Obama’s 2015 State Of The Union address mean for California?


Buying Influence: How China Manipulates Facebook and Twitter

20 key findings about CIA interrogations
“Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs listing 20 key findings.” — Washington Post


A Valentine, From A.I. to You

News Apps



Quartz new app

News 360




whatiscode– HTML to define the content of web pages

– CSS to specify the style and layout of web pages
– JavaScript to program the behavior of web pages


Design Principles


Candy Issue



41 Debates

From rainforest to your cupboard: the real story of palm oil

rainforest“You wash with it, you brush with it, you toast it, it’s in 50% of what you buy – but what’s the real story of palm oil? ” — Guardian

100 Most Jewish Foods

I saw my city die

A Special Report by the International Committee of the Red Cross on Homs.

100 Years of Design