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Same Story, Different Uses of Online Multimedia

The article To rebuild or not? Japan’s tsunami coast wonders was an interesting story written by AP journalist Tim Sullivan.  Sullivan’s article detailed the downfall of a coastal town named Kesennuma  that was ravaged by Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami disaster.

When the story hit the wire March 27, 2011 multiple online news sites picked it up.  Of all of the sites that posted the story MSNBC.com impressed me the most with their use of multimedia in the article. MSNBC used video, photo galleries, and interactive maps to improve the article for online use.

Underneath the title of Sullivan’s article even before the text started video about the disaster in Japan is made available to the reader. This video is a nice element of multimedia that can immediately engage a reader, but having it before the text took attention away from the article itself. Personally, I prefer the way statesmen.com presented the article in this regard.

In still images and image galleries statesman.com’s presentation was lacking considerably.  Statesman only presented three images on the left side of the article. Also Statesman.com had no related articles or image galleries anywhere else on the article.

MSNBC’s article had many more galleries and even an interactive photoblog related to the disaster in Japan.  MSNBC’s presentation was even more impressive in comparison to haroldonline.com’s presetation of the story. The harold’s story had one photo gallery and links to related stories, but no other options for interactivity with the article.

On top of everything else MSNBC’s article also had interactive maps and graphics that strengthened the story John Sullivan wrote. To make interaction easier MSNBC placed brightly colored tabs on the right side of their article that immediately jump a reader to video, text, maps, and related information.


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