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Monday, September 26, 2005

Animation software's role on newspaper websites

An article on Online Journalism Review explores the pros and cons of Flash and describes the place Flash journalism has. Flash is an animation software by Macromedia for developing interactive graphics, games, video etc. for websites. Here are some quotes from the article (see full article here).

The article cites José Márquez, producer at KQED Interactive, San Francisco, who uses online animations to explain political issues. He said about Flash that “It absolutely taps into what a computer can do that TV, the radio and newspapers can’t do: Allow the user to determine what they’re interested in, as well as to place them within the polemic of the story ... The things we get the most traffic out of is when the users get to decide what they’re going to see ... You can’t do that on TV. You can’t do it in print. Online is the only place where you can redefine how stories are told." Márquez also said that this does certainly not mean that he is doing investigative journalism, "But I am taking facts - often very dry facts and statistics - and trying to turn those into a story that will motivate people to take action or to learn more."

Juan Thomassie, senior designer at USAToday.com said, "Animation has become part of the way we tell stories online. It?s an option we use to give more credibility and reality to the piece ... We?re always thinking about making the story animated if we can, and more interesting to the readers. I think it has changed the way we tell stories dramatically. You can?t just copy a news graphic and paste it on the Web page and expect it to engage the reader.?

However, some people think that Flash is not the perfect tool for everything. Adrian Holovaty, editor at Washintonpost.com, said that Flash is not an ideal partner for databases in case that readers might want to link to a specific part of a package. He said, ?Flash is good for things such as video that can?t be broken down into nuggets of information. But otherwise, information should be broken down ...Linking is pretty fundamental. Every piece of information should be linkable ... Flash is certainly appropriate in some cases, but my opinion is that if a small news organization is going to invest resources in the Web, it ought to invest more into databases and making data ?smart? than into one-off Flash projects."

Source: Online Journalism Review

Posted by Anna-Maria Mende on September 26, 2005 at 11:50 AM | Permalink

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