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Online is not television

That’s what I have been saying, but no…

Creating compelling television, it turned out, meant more than putting talking heads around a table. It required millions of dollars, new innovations, and, most important, experienced producers and compelling on-air talent…

“Is video alone going to save newspapers? Absolutely not,” said Bruce Headlam, managing editor of Times video. “A lot of newspaper people quite comfortably make fun of television people, but it’s very hard and very expensive to do what CNN, Fox, MSNBC do.”

Why isn’t live video working for news sites?

verification Handbook

The Verification Handbook: verifying UGC for emergency coverage

I’ll just copy/paste the press release:

The European Journalism Centre (EJC) has released the Verification Handbook, the first ever guide for using user-generated content (UGC) during humanitarian emergencies.

Whether it is debunking images of ‘street sharks’ during Hurricane Sandy, or determining the veracity of videos that depict human rights abuses, reporting the right information is critical in shaping responses from the public and relief workers as a crisis unfolds.

By providing the exact methods needed to validate information, photos and videos shared by the crowd, the Verification Handbook forms an essential component of any organisation’s disaster preparedness plan.

The Verification Handbook draws on the experiences of practitioners from some of the world’s premier news and aid organisations, including BBC, Storyful, The Guardian, ABC, Buzzfeed UK, NHK, Poynter Institute, Digital First Media, the Tow Center, GigaOM, the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute (QCRI), the Internews Center for Innovation & Learning, OpenStreetMap, Amnesty International, Circa, Meedan, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC), WITNESS, the Dart Centre Europe, and Shabab Souria.

An online version of Verification Handbook is available for free at http://verificationhandbook.com, and a PDF, Kindle and Print version will be released on 7 February. An Arabic version of the Handbook will also be released soon thereafter.

The initiative is financed by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, as well as by the African Media Initiative (AMI), and supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ethical Journalism Network (EJN), Humanity Road and many other organisations.

Website: http://verificationhandbook.com
Twitter hashtag: #emjo

Did I mentioned it’s free?

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Authors of amazing Interactive Doc “Hollow” explain how they did it

When I started going through “Hollow” (can’t find a better verb, “watching” is not what I did) I was amazed with the amount of elements it has. Imagine a dynamic collage of audio, stills, images, data and video, divided in six different chapters, each one including short but deep, well crafted video stories.

In a nutshell, it’s a story about the rise and fall of McDowell County, West Virginia, USA. The remaining inhabitants of this now decadent area show their lives in this empty land, while making ends meet and trying to resurrect their towns.

Its makers, Director and Producer Elaine McMillion, Sound Designer Billy Wirasnik, Technical Director and Senior Developer Robert Hall and Art Director/Designer and Architect Jeff Soyk, held  a Hangout where they talked about this project, their sucesses and failures.

I’d like to highlight Billy Wirasnik’s advice : “Don’t forget about sound!”. This project relies a lot in natural soundscapes and music tracks, which adds a whole new dimension to the story. Try it without sound and you’ll see what I mean.

Another thing you should notice is that you have to watch some videos to unlock extra  features. It’s a way to reward the users who explore the most.

There is a lot to learn from the mechanics and looks of this interactive doc, especially the mix of still and dynamic visual elements, pushed forward by html5/css3/js cogwheels, and the awesome video narrative.  A must “scroll through” (?!?).

Check out Elaine McMillion’s blog to watch the Hangout videos and access the links they mentioned and other assorted tools and tips for storytellers.

Here’s the trailer for “Hollow”:

MAPA post

Portfolio – Invasive plants Interactive map

One of the goals I set for the science communication  project where I was working was to build some interactive features. I built this phenological calendar and, more recently, an interactive map.

This map shows the origins of the most important invasive plant species in Portugal, and some Portuguese native plants that are invasive in other regions. It’s a simple, straightforward project , directed to a younger audience.

I used two different tools to build this. The navigation and content support is taken from the Fullscreen Pageflip Layout, as seen on Codrops, one of the most inspiring websites I ever came across, and a must follow. I made a concession here, because I’m not a huge fan of flipping pages on a screen, but I felt it worked better that way. It all works with HTML5&CSS3 plus Javascript wizardry.

The map was built with amMaps, a Javascript library package, that had just the right solution for this. I must send a shout out for their impeccable support, they were just awesome. Their maps can be used in so many different ways it made me want to use amMaps again for other projects. Try them out, and look at amCharts too. As a Javascript noob I thought it would be more complicated, but it was easier than I expected to build the map.

The flags’ sections were handmade by me and I got to apply some CSS expertise. One thing that I learned though, not all flags have the same proportions: some are wider than others. Go figure.

If you missed the two links to the map at the top, follow this one, and let me know what you think about it.

 

istambul to europe guardian game

The Guardian creates the refugee game

Again, The Guardian. They have a new interactive story dedicated to Syrian refugees situation, and their hardships to find a safe haven far from the civil war afflicting their homeland.

The premise is that you are “a 28-year-old Sunni woman from Aleppo, and you have two children, a girl aged eight, and a 10-year-old boy. Your husband was killed in a mortar attack three months ago. The air strikes have continued – a recent bomb, you hear, killed 87 children – and you now feel you must try to leave Syria.”

At the end of each section, describing different scenarios faced by real refugees, dictated by legal, logistical and political parameters, you are presented with options. You have to choose carefully, to find refuge. The results are – to say the least – bleak.

The game logic applied to this story is a good way to empathize with the refugee situation, it looks simple, and it’s frustrating enough to gain awareness about the issue and, in the comfort of our homes, step into the refugees’ shoes.

bits, hands and feeds on digital media