Week 11: Stories in New Media

I was impressed by this week’s readings which consisted not just of reading material  but also included the application of media components such as video, audio and other visually stimulating elements for journalistic purposes.  While still relatively new in relation to the technological advancements which have made these new audio-visual interactive components available, I did find it at times difficult to navigate the various interactive components of several of these articles, as it was very much outside of my comfort zone in comparison to other articles that I will frequently read from The Guardian and The New York Times.  In terms of the successful use of these various elements of New Media, it is clear that New Media no longer just depends on the journalist and their ability to collect information and provide their news in a direct and absorbable manner by the reader, now the use of of New Media requires a greater amount of technological literacy as well as proficiency as a graphic designer.

John Branch’s “Snow Fall: The Avalanche of Tunnel Creek” for the New York Times begins by applying traditional journalist writing producing descriptive imagery relating to the Washington Cascade region, its history, the experience of skiers such as Elyse Saugstad, and provides an overview of Washington winter sports and its culture through this traditional journalistic component.  In addition, this article is greatly benefited by the inclusion by Branch of two maps, one providing important weather simulations which produces a better understanding of snow and avalanche related activity in the Pacific Northwest through simulating the storm which produced the thirty-two inches of snow which caused the avalanche which trapped Saugstad, and the second map which was a very helpful bird’s eye view of the mountain region being discussed.

Overall, out of this week’s articles Branch’s is the best example of the use of New Media components of video, maps and traditional journalistic writing while Ewen MacAskill and Gabriel Dance’s “NSA Files Decoded” and Bagnall and Sherrat’s,“Invisible Australians: Living under the White Australia Policy” do exhibit some flaws and shortcomings. The “Invisible Australian: Living under the White Australia Policy,”  while focusing on historic topic of vital importance to Australian history and the racial context to Australian heritage, cultural and identity, has led to the collection of a substantial number of primary sources including immigration papers and photos is unfortunately dated by this site.  Yet the last entry to this site in its blog section was June 19,2013, and several of the hyperlinks do not work it appears sadly that the site’s administrators are no longer playing an active role in the site’s upkeep which is an issue of great significance to the rise of New Media, as such sites and databases requires constant maintenance.

However, MacAskill and Dance’s “NSA Files Decoded,”  while focusing on a topic of vital importance regarding the government seizure of phone company metadata, the use New Media components occurs almost in excess in the presentation of this issue.  While the article focuses on the Snowden whistleblowing scandal the article also contains segments of interviews from different government officials, politicians, and communications experts, and while the intention is for these interview segments is to compliment the article and the writing itself, the end product was instead fragments and distracting.  The interviews themselves, by being divided into segments rather than being presented as complete interviews produced and presented in a complete video, lose a great deal of weight as sources of primary information. 


Lorenzo is a second year Public history student, following his completion of BA in History from Flagler College in Saint Augustine, Florida his areas of historic interest include 19th and 20th century American Anarchist history, as well as museum education focusing on the use of living history and interactive/hands on museum exhibits and programs.

Posted in Uncategorized