Monday, January 16, 2006

Two multimedia projects of note

And both come from the hills of Virgina and West Virginia.

First is the University of West Virginia's Katrina Project. It shows what can be done on the college level with commitment and resources. Bonnie Stewart's Lessons from the Storm should be a good read for any teacher thinking of getting into this.

Second is a very neat site from The Roanoke Times, Going Down the Crooked Road, a look at the music and the characters of southern Virginia's Heritage Music Trail in the heart of bluegrass country. The series ran this summer, but I didn't see it until a pointer from the Scout Report came into my e-mail. I've got to admit, I spent quite a bit of time -- too long -- fascinated by all the interactive elements. The Flash-based part that lets you isolate the various instruments in a bluegrass band and see the role each plays -- and then lets you play around with various combinations -- is a great example of how multimedia should be done.

Of course, take a look at the size of the production team. I spent more than a few days in broadcast and understand the time suck such production values can be. So while I admire and drool over both efforts like this, my typical caveat: We need to work just as hard on figuring out how to do this caliber of work on daily stories -- and as many of them as possible.

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(A P.S.: Many folks don't know about the Scout Report mentioned above. It is one of the longest-living projects to catalog and help ferret out the best of the Web. Its weekly (every Friday) e-mails are invaluable, as is its searchable database (its RSS feed, however, leaves something to be desired). Try it out; it's free and government funded. It should be a must-bookmark spot for journalists.
Which brings us to another point -- periodically that funding falls into jeopardy. So if you see a plea for help, give the "scouts" your support.)

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