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Posts Tagged ‘Animation’

The CIR Is On It: Telling the Story of Solitary Confinement for Teens Over, and Over, and Over Again

CIR the boxThis week, the Center for Investigative Reporting released a print story, a short animation, and a photo essay about solitary confinement for adolescents in the U.S. prison system. That’s in addition to a NewsHour and a public radio piece released last month and to a yet unreleased half hour documentary and graphic novel. By the end of the month, there will be around 10 pieces of the adolescent solitary confinement story circling you on one form of media or another.

It’s enough to make you rethink what you’ve been reporting on all year. CIR reporters Daffodil Altan and Trey Bundy started over a year ago trying to gain access into prisons and report on conditions for teens. Altan says that the access issues surrounding the story seemed “almost insurmountable” at a certain point. Instead of being deterred, they pressed on and worked on thinking of different ways to handle the content. Says Altan:

We started of thinking of ways to tell the story even though we were dealing with essentially invisible sights. That’s  where the idea for the animation came up. We had met this very compelling young man in New York who told us about his experience at Rikers very powerfully and we had all this tape of him…we decided to try to take 3 hours of interview and see if we could carve that into something smaller and with a narrative arc.

And so the reporting team of two or three turned into a team of somewhere around 15-20, according to Bundy. Bundy says that as they are reporting they’re “always having conversations about what else we can do besides what we’ve already settled on.” In this case, there was a written story in mind, with photos to boot. But a colleague who acts as a liaison between the CIR and KQED “heard radio all over this,” says Bundy. When New York State started talking about banning the practice of solitary confinement for teenagers, NewsHour suddenly wanted the story sooner. “That wasn’t always supposed to be the first piece that was released on this,” Bundy adds. Having the story told across platforms means you reach more people. Says Bundy, “There’s some overlap between people who listen to public radio or watch NewsHour, or read Medium, but it’s not total overlap. The benefit of having multiple platforms is that you are going to catch multiple, different types of audiences, hopefully.”

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Reuters to Distribute News Animations

Today, Reuters announced a partnership with Next Media Animation (NMA), the Taiwanese company known for its animated news coverage. Reuters will be distributing NMA’s News Direct videos, which cover breaking news and feature stories in 3D animation. The videos offer popular visual coverage of news stories when video footage is not immediately available, and they serve as a medium to explain more technical and conceptual stories. NMA is also responsible for those satirical news animations that have covered everything from TSA security and WikiLeaks to Charlie Sheen’s hotel room antics and the much-discussed Ukrainian Barbie. Read more

News Cats on Tumblr Turn Journalist Woes To Laughs

Here’s a quick mid-week laugh for any reporter who has ever found themselves stuck covering a three-hour meeting with other things on their mind, combined with zero cell phone reception and several deadlines looming.

Go visit the News Cat Gifs!, the latest animated gif Tumblr to take on the myriad of first-world problems journalists battle daily.

My personal favorites of the ones posted so far:

New Jersey Newspaper Animates Editorials

The editorial board of New Jersey’s largest newspaper, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, has taken to a new story form to express its point of views: the animatorial.

It’s an editorial that’s in animated video form. The result is amusing, hilarious and a surprisingly effective storytelling method.

The production values are pretty corny. It’s cheesy text-to-speech animated figures on a real-life background. But the story (in this case about toll hikes) is told in a way that anyone can understand. It speaks to the viewer more than a traditional text-based editorial would.

For a video to be an effective storytelling tool, it need not have tons of bells and whistles. Instead, it needs to be well-written and understandable. And that’s exactly what these animatorials are. Read more