Week 9 – Multimedia Storytelling

You will need to bring laptops, notebooks, and pens. Some ideas for a food story.


  • M: am – Multimedia Storytelling – What is it? & The power of

  • M: am – Multimedia Storytelling – Formats & taxonomy
  • M: pm – Story & Narrative – The fundamentals of story
  • M: pm – Multimedia Storytelling – Choosing, combining and structuring media in single stories (linear & non-linear)
  • Student evening exercise – please download and fill in this worksheet and bring it to class on Tuesday. Worksheet for multimedia pitching
  • T: am – Pitch your stories
  • T: am – Multimedia Storytelling – Workflow & Production tips
  • T: pm – Multimedia Storytelling – Making an MMJ production plan workshop in groups. Research, finding the story, choosing the treatment & mediums, storyboarding, delegating tasks, time plans, pre-interviews, shot list & interview questions.
  • T: pm Critique of Infographic assignments

Assignment 1 – Deadline: Sunday Evening

Multimedia Journalism Food Feature

Assignment: Working in teams of three (and one pair), create a multimedia journalism feature story that highlights a contemporary, newsworthy trend or issue about food in China. You must find a food, dish, style of cooking, restaurant, chef, farmer etc that represents or delivers insights into the broader trend or issue. You must clearly communicate how your chosen food/chef/restaurant is important to larger contemporary trend or issue affecting food and consumers in China today. For example, you might find an organic farmer and tie your story to the trend of organic produce. Or, you might find a traditional noodle chef with a small restaurant and tie their story to how modern eating habits of ordering food online is impacting small restaurants. Or, you might focus on a new food craze and someone caught up in it. The stories and issues are limitless. 

Publication & Series: National Geographic. The series title (we made this one up) is  “Feeding the worlds largest population”.

Format: You will produce a continuous, linear, single scrolling page multimedia story. Aim to use each medium to its strengths. (Images to capture moments, video to capture action and/or character, text for context, graphics to highlight key or impact data). In this first Multimedia assignment, we are going with the most traditional and standard kind of multimedia. It’s a good place to start. In the future, there are no limits! And even within this format you can and should be thinking creatively!

Platform: Your Platform is Shorthand – You will be given sign up details in class on Tuesday

Your assignment must include these key components:

  • 1 x 1 – 2.5 min video
  • 1 x 400 – 600-word text article
  • 6 – 10 still images (more is ok if you have a special idea for using images)
  • 1 x Infographic (still or animated) (Again more is fine so long as they are purposeful)
  • A clear story focus. You will need to pitch your story in class on Tuesday and communicate how your chosen subject is relevant to a broader contemporary food issue or trend in China. You will be asked to identify your ‘narrow story’ and ‘broader story’. The ‘narrow story’ is the story of the food/person/etc that you will focus on during shooting in the field. The ‘broader story’ will be the overarching national/international issue your small story represents or highlights
  • (once your story production is finalized you’ll translate your focus into your multimedia story as a nut-graph)
  • Your story should answer the basic WWWW & H questions relevant to your chosen STORY FOCUS.
  • A headline and subheading.
  • Your story should have NEWS VALUE
  • Your story should be continuous and linear on a single scrolling page.
  • Your story should have a sense of story, using some or all narrative elements such as character, exposition/context, conflict/dilemma/challenge, resolution/conclusion setting
  • You must consider the overall structure of your feature story. It should have a narrative flow – a beginning, middle, and end. Pay attention to the layout, order, and transitions from one media element to the next.

Assessment / Critique Checklist

  • Your feature is suitable for the target publication – National Geographic (Read the sample stories)
  • It has a clear focus
  • It includes key elements: headline; nut graph; lead; quotes; relevant context; facts and information. 
  • The story answers essential WWWWW+H questions relevant to the focus
  • ‘On the ground reporting’ will include interviews and footage of your ‘narrow story’ – i.e. the food/person that you will focus on during shooting.
  • You will also include relevant and credible sources to support and evidence your ‘broad story’ – i.e. the overarching national/international issue you minor subject represents or highlights
  • Credible sources (for facts, info, and context) must be used and attributed (by hyperlink where suitable)



Please take a look at all works, which ones appeal most, why? We’ll discuss in class. Also, think about the categories/ intersections these multimedia features would fit into (continuous, comprehensive, immersive)

1) SNOWFALL (2012) – You don’t need to view this in full, it’s very long. But do spend 15 minutes exploring this groundbreaking multimedia story.



planet money

Multimedia storytelling evolved and continues to evolve as more journalists experiment with the possibilities opened up by new digital tools and techniques.

3) Seven Days of Heroin: This is what an epidemic looks like (2018)

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 11.51.55.pngP.s. you’ll find some great links discussing the Pulitzer Prize-winning story here

4) THE COBALT PIPELINE: This is where your smartphone battery begins (WP) (2015)

Screen Shot 2018-11-24 at 11.58.49.png

5) FINDING HOME (2018)

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 02.24.46.png





Finding focus

Multimedia Story Planning


More Inspirations



  • Take a look at Shorthand’s online training where you can learn the ins and outs of the Shorthand editor.
  • They also regularly share tips on their blog, The Craft, and Twitter and Facebook.
  • Their Pinterest board is also a source of inspiration and a great place to see how others are using Shorthand.


We’ll update this list in December

Learning Outcomes — Students will:

  • Learn about different multimedia platforms and how they are used to combine photography, video, and text to effectively communicate different types of new stories.
  • Develop an understanding of the construction and implementation of different types of linear and non-linear storytelling methods.
  • Learn how to build a storyboard, shot list and construct an effective time plan