A Changing Market
The world is changing and so is journalism. A lot more is require of news gatherers today than it was even 15 years ago. The consumer now expects not only to be given the necessary information, but to have it tailored to his or her specific likes. Multiple stories can now be expressed through multiple platforms. This process is defined as transmedia.
Journalist must be concerned with this concept, a cousin of multimedia, because it is shaping the job expectations of young journalists.
Five Keys to Transmedia
MediaShift by PBS recently put together an article outlining the best ways to succeed in creating transmedia content. They break down affective transmedia usage into five categories which are outlined below.
The first is keeping content unique. Today’s market calls for fresh content. It cannot just be new though. It must also be creatively presented. It has to be better than similar stories. Several media outlets within a single market may all cover similar news stories on a given day. If one particular outlet finds different and inventive ways to package those stories they are more likely to keep the attention of the consumer.
Learning to turn out unique content is not anything new. Modern technology has simply given today’s creators more options for giving viewers, listeners, and readers something new to take in. This has made journalists’ jobs easier in the sense that they have so many more options for telling stories and grabbing the audience’s attention. At the same time a journalists’ jobs are made harder, because of this. The expectation is now hyper-customized coverage.
Unique content is great, but if it is hard to use it does no good. A consumer will have little patience, or interest, if they cannot easily operate and process what is being presented. The MediaShift article says a good “point of entry” is necessary. The beginning should be easy to identify and access. Once that has been done, moving through the story should also be a simple task.
Don’t Go Solo
Modern journalists must be proficient in many tasks, and presenting various stories using diverse platforms, but collaboration is a staple of transmedia journalism as well. Having two or more people who are capable of recording stories on several platforms can make for powerful coverage. Collaboration is good and can lead to projects that are a richer experience for the consumer.
Cheap Price Doesn’t Mean Cheap Content
Transmedia can incorporate more expensive traditional forms of media. However it can use free platforms to tell stories too. For example, social media is free, and can be used to tell a story in a way that is interesting.
Remember What Counts
The story is always most important. If a specific format doesn’t work for a particular story then don’t force it. Whatever a journalist produces needs to be organic. There is a right and a wrong way to present information. It is important that the method of storytelling not outshine the story itself.
New Methods, New Tools
Transmedia can be simple. Even something short can help tell as story. For example, MediaBistro.com ran a short article this week on the uses of Vine, Twitter’s new video app. Vine features six second videos cobbled together to tell a larger story. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, Vine is the perfect example of a new creation that can be used in transmedia journalism. It frames stories in new ways that audiences haven’t seen before. It, and countless other tools, are shaping the way the news is reported and consumed.