WEEK 5: Narrative, Context and Story

This week, we’ll discuss the theoretical concept of narrative, and the practical of adding contexts to journalism.

Start with David Campbell’s essay and accompanying audio lecture on narrative and photography. You’ll have a basic understanding of narrative and story, and the nature of narrative being constructions.


To help you apply the abstract to the practical, analyze the multimedia news story you pick from this week by answering the following questions raised in the end of Campbell’s essay. We’ll also go around the classroom and talk about this on Tuesday.

  • what is the issue?
  • what will be the events/moments?
  • if needed, who are the characters?
  • what is the context?

Read Nina Berman’s essay on how she challenges existing and predictable narratives by looking for fresh angles and new storytelling techniques. Eventually, what she wants to achieve with the stories goes far beyond getting them published, but making real impacts and leading to changes.


Watch the interview with Matt Thompson on contexts in journalism. Pay special attention when he talks about the notion of the article, and how the internet has broken it down, and opens up opportunities for adding more contextual journalism contents online.


Make sure that you get yourself familiarised with the following work, so when in class, we can have a discussion about them, and how they can inform your future practice.

  • Vox is a news website with a simple mission: explain the news. Check out their “Explainers” section to have a better idea of how they help their audience to understand the news.


  • Four Corners Project allows photographers to add rich metadata to photographs


  • A video by the New York Times combining video footages and graphics to explain the Chinese mobile internet to its western audience who may have never heard of WeChat.

  • A video by AJ+ with solely graphics explaining “Where is Palestine?” in 1 minute 30 seconds.