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Journalism in motion

When I think of the word “journalism” I immediately imagine a stack of newspapers or a computer screen displaying a text story. My multimedia journalism class has encouraged me to expand my definition immensely.

Jonathon Berlin, graphics editor for the Chicago Tribune spoke to our class last week and challenged aspiring journalists to broaden our definition of journalism to include graphics. In high school, I was asked to be the graphics editor for the newspaper–not because I am a skilled graphics producer, but because no one else wanted the position. Originally, I was disappointed because I wouldn’t get to design newspaper pages like everyone else in the class. I asked myself, “Would I still be doing journalism? Will my work earn the same kind of respect?”

All good interactives start with journalism, Berlin said

As the graphics editor, I quickly learned that immense research, investigation and time goes into each graphic. Even though I was not writing stories, I was still doing journalism. I also learned that graphics can tell stories in a way text cannot.

Here is an example of an excellent motion graphic from NPR:

This graphic illustrates the concept of the world’s population growth more effectively than any text story. Graphics may not seem like a traditional segment of journalism, but they absolutely add a unique view to any story and allow readers to engage interactively.  Next time you are perusing through an online news site I encourage you to scroll through the graphics. You may be surprised by how much you can learn!


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