“Digital storytelling” and “digital reporting” are not interchangeable

News reporting: indirectly told by reporters; due to space limits, only a small amount of subject materials are selected based on “news values.” Digital storytelling: directly told by subjects involved; a fuller range of subject materials are included.

The word “storytelling” is seeing more and more use in discussions of digital content creation. I sometimes ponder if “digital reporting” and “digital storytelling”are interchangeable – well, they are not.

In discussing a National Geographic digital storytelling project, the producer talked about the benefits of using multimedia tools to produce a digital story package. Such benefits, seen from another perspective, speak to one such difference between digital storytelling and regular news reporting:

“To make a really great narrative [in print] often means only telling the story of a couple of people, and trying to use those stories to tell the larger story of the community and where it’s going,” Huey said. “That’s often confusing for the community itself. People always asked me why I couldn’t fit in something about the all-star basketball team, or the scholars going on to college. Everyone wanted something specific and claimed that I was missing the entire story because I didn’t have those things. They felt like they were misrepresented. They felt like for decades in the media, they’d been misrepresented.”

About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (www.mulinblog.com/mooc), a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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