…then I shall begin
I love stories. When I was little I loved hearing them at school, at home, from anyone. Hell, I still love hearing them. Part of the reason why I chose to take Classics A-level was because the teacher used to tell the best stories whenever she took assembly. I love telling stories as well. It’s why I did Creative Writing at university numero uno. It’s why I fell in love with journalism and it’s why, when we were assigned the task of a niche blog, my first thought was to use the medium of blogging to explore different ways of telling stories. This is a work in progress.
So, when Dr Daniel Meadows spoke about Digital Storytelling during our second Online Journalism lecture, I was instantly engaged by the idea. Some of the videos he showed us definitely backed up the thesis that the method is a very personal way of telling a story, whatever that story might be. All very well and good, you might think, for a person to put forward their own expression of grief, love or footwear-related bewilderment, but what does it have to do with journalism? As trainee journalists one of the lessons lurking behind almost every lecture is the mantra not to let personal feelings seep into our work. So where does this self-confessed intensely personal medium fit?
The answer, I think, lies with a question Dr Meadows asked us last week: ‘Why is the voice of the media interesting?’
Because it’s authoritative? Maybe. Because it’s the truth? Not always. (And here I could use my newfound geek-slickery skills to link to an example but not going to because right there beside the subjectivity lessons has been the siren-shrieks of Defamation! Libellous! Lawyers!)
I think the voice of the media is interesting because it is a voice. Belonging to an individual. I think the journalist’s personal stamp on a story is part of what can make that story great, no matter what it’s about. After all, if it wasn’t why would there be a need to train journalists?
Digital Storytelling tells a story, but it doesn’t have to be just one person’s… It can tell any story. It could be used to tell the news in a different way – imagine that. It could be used to enhance a news story, give it a new perspective. Enlighten it. I heard someone say the other day that they don’t bother paying attention to news stories concerning topics with history behind them – the Iraq war, for example – because they don’t know the backlog of issues associated with the story and thus it makes less sense. So what if Digital Storytelling could be used as a crash-course resource to get people up to date with these topics? Kind of like those youtube tutorials you see… It may be hovering on the out-of-date cusp of the mind-wrenching chasm that is Social Media today, but I think there is a huge audience for Digital Storytelling in journalism.
We were given the task, at the end of the lecture, to make our own Digital Stories, using the tutorial found here. I’m sure I’m not the only one bursting with my share of crazy, bizarrity and tragedy, so I can’t wait to see what comes of it. Bring it on!