After reading through the tips on visual storytelling, I came across this video that is a good example of visual storytelling. The video is actually an ad for a non-profit that is trying to provide clean water to children in poverty-stricken areas of Africa. What struck me about the visual aspect of this piece was the good closing and opening shots. As we know from Deborah Potter, getting your shots to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end is important. Because of the good opening and closing shots, this video was able to accomplish that very well. The beginning of the video is a shot of the ocean, emphasizing the water. The last shot (before some text at the very end) is of happy children dancing around. This plays up the good that can come to them if they get the water that was seen at the beginning. Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable piece and a good example.
As a novice online writer, one needs to gather some tips from the pros in order to succeed. Here are five things I’ve found so far that I think are pretty useful.
1. Place your lead high up, very high up in the article
Online readers do NOT have very large attention spans. If you go to a coffee shop, especially one with nice fireplace seating, you might notice an elderly couple pick up a newspaper, sit down, and spend a couple hours perusing and doing the crossword. This is not how people consume online news. There are so many articles they can look at, even on one topic, that they don’t have time to wait for the lead of yours.
This follows from the first point, but you should also apply it to individual paragraphs. They need to have their own points that are made in the topic sentence and made clearly.
3. Change your font sizes on headings
If readers skim your work, and the will, they will look for an indication that something is important. Give them that indication by making your headings and new points bigger.
4. Link to everything
Linking will not entice people to other sites. Rather, it is more likely to raise your profile because the writer you linked to can usually tell where his readers came from. He might send you some love with a link as well.
5. Keep it short and simple, stupid
In order to combat serial skimmers, make your paragraphs and stories as short and sweet as possible.
I recently got a Twitter account for school/business purposes. There should then be no surprise in the fact that a large percentage of people I follow are people I look up to professionally. Here are ten specific ones.
1. Buster Olney
-Buster Olney is a sportswriter for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. He has provided quality writing for a long time and is active on Twitter, plus he focuses on baseball.
2. Bernie Miklasz
-Bernie is the Saint Louis equivalent of Buster Olney. He writes for the Post-Dispatch and hosts a radio show. These are both things that I am interested in doing.
3. Tim Kurkjian
-He is another baseball writer for ESPN. He writes for baseball specifically. He also is a frequent guest on radio shows and breaks trade news on Twitter.
4. Dr. Dan Kozlowski
-SLU Prof with a background in Journalism. Ten to 15 years down the road, I most likely see myself doing what he does now.
5. Dr. Lisa Nakamura
-A communication researcher specializing in online gaming communication. Dr. Nakamura’s work has come up in three of my classes so far. Her research involves the ever-growing and evolving field of online communication.
6. Joe Strauss
-He is a sportswriter for the STL Post-Dispatch
7. Jayson Stark
-Another ESPN baseball writer. He often throws out trivia questions, something I really like.
8. Peter King
-A longtime football writer for Sports Illustrated.
9. Peter Gammons
-Formerly a baseball writer for ESPN, he now works for MLB.com (Major League Baseball). He is older than the other writers in the group and has better historical perspective.
10. Tim McKernan
-He is a local media personality that hosts a sports talk show and runs his own website. His website is one of the most popular STL-specific sites and appeals to much more than just sports fans. He frequently engages followers about a variety of topics.