AC/DC’s “Let There be Rock” may not be the be the best analogy for journalism, but you do need light (a picture), sound, and sometimes music for a captivating multimedia report. However, to truly captivate the audience, there are many questions that need to be answered. Will you have voice over narration? What will you use for transitions?
Before, ESPN was known for Sportscenter, baseball, and College Gameday. Then, ESPN added a show called E:60 in October of 2007. The show airs once a week, and is like the CNN and BBC news of ESPN. E:60 covers stories that investigate the lives of notable athletes, as well as reporting on sports stories that do not receive much media attention. For example, Jeremy Schapp did an investigative report called “Athletes of Bahrain” ESPN E:60’s “Athletes in Bahrain” Report , which tied in Bahrain athletics with the protests that occurred last February. The report told the story of A’ala Hubail, a renowned soccer player in Bahrain, whose poltical beliefs and involvement in the protests, which led to his banishment. ESPN “pulled out all the stops” in producing this video. Music, still images, time lapse shots, bold subtitles, and news clips were all used to grab the audience’s attention. My favorite feature was the bold subtitle. The subtitles put a dramatic emphasis on Hubail’s quotes, as well as help to provide an emotional effect. The words “torture” and “beating room” still leave a lasting image, and gain sympathy from the audience.
Sometimes, music is unnecessary or too distracting. Local news broadcasts are an example of presenting a story where music is not necessary. Let’s examine KOMU’s story about Columbia Transit possibly eliminating the Black and Gold routes in order to make cuts on the city’s transit budget (Bye bye Black and Gold Routes?). Notice, they did not use music. Instead, KOMU used a bar graph to get their message across. According to KOMU, the Black and Gold routes account for around 800,000 of the 858,009 transit passenger ridership. Since, this is an important story to the local community, KOMU did not want music to distract their audience, and let the graphic tell the story.
Multimedia news reports can very tricky. Effects need to be added to attract and maintain the attention of the viewers, but news outlets must be careful not to go overboard. They can be either your friend or your enemy. The only way to do it right is to ask yourself, “What does this need? Would this work here?”