Storymap is an awesome and easy tool to make multimedia packages


Radio free Europe made this brilliant interactive map of Moscow’s coercive diplomacy using the open source tool: storymap

StoryMap is a free and easy-to-use tool that journalists can use now to create exclusive, Web-native multimedia story experiences.

I am very excited about that. 

As a professor at the International Academy of Journalism, the 11 fellows we are training will graduate soon and their final project is to produce an original multimedia package. We taught these traditional journalists how to produce many types of video reports, photo stories, mapping and data stories. 

We trained them in Cologne in February how to develop and produce visually-led multimedia packages. We also introduced them to powerful open source tools like Timeline.js. to build multimedia timelines.

If you are familiar with building multimedia stories with Timeline.js, you should have little trouble mastering the tech behind Storymap.

All of these tools are browser based and you don't need a developer, coding knowledge, or a server to make them. 

You do need to know how to plan multimedia story packages and that is the key. As tools evolve, more journalists will be able to do this work without invoking the expertise of specialists. This frees up the specialists to focus on more difficult tasks.

Another brilliant example is from The Times of London that takes the viewer on a tour of the illegal ivory trade from Africa to London to China. 

It also appears that the Storymap tool supports mobile journalism workflows as well. 

For example: If your reporters know how to report and file quality photo, audio and video elements from the field, their contributions can be organized back in the newsroom by a producer who assembles the package based on a story plan that was developed at the start by the team.

I see exciting possibilities ahead for newsrooms embracing mobile reporting methods and strengthening that using the storymap tool.

The other new tool from the Knight Lab is called Gigapixel and it is similar to Storymap.

Gigapixel allows you to create a multimedia package in a similar way. For example it allows you to craft a story that allows you to take your audience on a tour through the imaginary world of Game of Thrones, location, by location.




Congratulations to the developers. 

Tools like Storymap, Timeline, and Gigapixel are finally putting the power back in the hands of journalists to create immersive, visually-led, Web-native stories.

This kind of content is beyond article-driven Web publishing and is very valuable to publishers who have constant worries about their work being aggregated by others. 

I created this sample storymap in about 30 minutes to learn how easy it is to use.