Thursday, September 09, 2010

Making of a Multimedia Journalist - and Trans Journalist

Interview with James Woolsey, CIA head in the 90s

[cross post from

Very few words have exerted a strain on modern journalism as "multimedia", which has come to symbolise something akin to next generation reportage.

Within the profession it means different things; in other disciplines, such as graphic design, it connotes something wider than the journalism term.

The BBC may deliver multimedia news, with different elements, but is it multimedia in offering multi-entry, multi faceted news wrapped together to deliver a far richer unitary experience?

Self contained packages such as Filmmakers in Residence reveal the contemporary mesh of text, sound and video - the concept of new cinema as envisagd by Marinetti's 1916 "The Futurist Cinema".

This single story approach is the limited experience Hollywood gives us through the release of selling its films e.g. Shylaman's movie, Skyline and previously, one of my favourites, now deprecated Kingdom.

Our prediliction today at mastering new tools e.g. blogs, podcasts and video, mainly an economic production imperative makes us multiskilled, but no more adept to understanding a new combined language.

Does this all matter? If we believe language evolves, that we seek fresh ways of engaging users who are more media literate, then yes.

**Breaking the rules **

But then even multimedia becomes defunct and the concept to engage you, the 21st Century futuristic cinema evolves into Transmedia.

Where Multimedia in the contemporary sense is univocal - one package - trans correlates different media, providing different entry points and experience. You build from the beginning the total experiences.

One of the first to do this was US Series Homicide Life on the Street, where you could help solve a murder online, and see how that was written into the US network show. The Matrix then raised the stakes e.g. Comics, Games, Animation, Movie, online.

The practice of IM Videojournalism - a multimedia transition to Transmedia, is being updated on the following the pages over the next few weeks.

From the IMVJ decree, interviews with the likes of MIT Transmedia expert Henry Jenkins, to listing some of the formidable pract-itioners e.g. Rich Kocci in this area, and some of my work, such as the award winning 8 Days.

Trans, as much as Multimedia involves modularity of thinking, an imbrication of ideas, and an understanding of your audience's behaviour. It is the media set to grow alongside the many platforms still evolving.

Conversation continues on