The New York Times “One in eight million” slideshow is a collective of multimedia stories about regular people in New York. The series uses audio, pictures and texts to tell the stories. These stories are not traditional news stories. They are instead about someone who could be your neighbor, sitting beside you on the bus or who you walk by everyday to work.
Each multimedia component of the series could be experienced independently.
They worked like a conveyor system. Everytime you got to the component you were adding on to the finished product.
The interview with John Keegan, the ladies man, is a good example of this. Keegan is a dating coach who lives on the lower east side and goes on about three dates a week. The storytelling by the audio and photo can be compared to fraternal twins. They share the same DNA but are not exactly alike. The photos gallery are filled with Keegan on dates with women around the city and helping people clients find dates. The audio story tells us how something deeper to these activities like how he feels about his profession and how he gets theses dates. The audio and photos never sync together in content exactly, but you are able to follow each journey without getting lost.
Not all the stories followed that layout.
The story about Joseph Cotton, the grandfather, are more harmonious in audio and visual components. The story had less natural sound than Keegan’s story. In Keegan’s story I entered a new place with natural sound in the audio, but in Cotton’s story I entered through the photos. The content of the photos acted as their own transition to each new part of his story. They successfully did this by taking photos that spoke for themselves. It was not hard to interpret the love Cotton felt for his granddaughter when he was changing her. The pictures of new places always included significant identifiers so the audience could imagine the sounds coming from there.
The pictures in the series where also unique because they were all black and white.
It made the story of Joy Seligsohn, the mature actress, a welcome challenge to process visually. The setting of the photos had plenty of people on the subway and in auditions with her. Knowing that these places have plenty of colors in them it made the mind do extra to place a color to an object. I would argue it helped viewers process her story better. The written part of the story also gave context to what the photos and audio story told. For example, most of her photos are of her on the subway. It was curious that more of her photos were not taken in audition or on a set. The text enlightened us that Seligsohn rides the bus daily so it makes sense the subway was an integral setting in her story.
The multimedia storytelling of the series was so impactful because none of the mediums were an afterthought. Instead they were treated as both separate and equally important to each other.
When I go out in the field this week to tell the story of someone in north central Florida I will use this approach. Each multimedia aspect I want to capture needs to have a unique purpose to the story. I shouldn’t come back and have anything be an afterthought in post production. Next week story will give the audience a chance to listen to one story in three different ways.