Working with multimedia
NOWADAYS, IN THE JOURNALISM world, multimedia is the word. People talk about audio, video, interactivity, motion graphics, slide shows. It seems that everybody has a blog and is immersed in social media. But how many people really know how to work with multimedia effectively? Does it mean that just because you have a video camera, a voice recorder or a photo camera that you can do good quality multimedia?
That’s kind of like saying that just because you have a blog, you are a reporter or a journalist.
I have been exploring different communication platforms for a while. Most of my experience had been with the printed word. With the world changing and forecasters saying that nobody reads anymore (it’s so easy to say such things without providing solid proof), I decided to branch out and tap into the audiovisual training I received as an undergrad.
I started my career as a writer and then learned to be a designer. I also did photography and informational graphics. I did some illustration. I produced a radio program and did some acting. I wanted to be able to design what I write, to combine those skills to make of myself a more complete journalist, both in Spanish and English. It has been a journey, especially when English is my second language.
But the Internet and other changes in the journalism world made it necessary to adapt to other technologies. I was not a complete journalist anymore. Because of all the changes, I’ve had to alter my goal of being both a visual and a word person who speak two languages. I need to add movement and sound to my world.
I have been exploring audio and video for a while. Living in a world that multitasks has made me aware that I need learn more skills. The problem is that I’ve never been much of a generalist, someone who knows a little about everything instead of a lot about one thing. If I am a writer, I want to be a very good writer. If I am designer, I want to be a very good designer. Now I am on my way to being a good multimedia producer. Life keeps challenging me, which is good.
In order to do that, I need to polish my skills. Some people take a picture with a point-and-shoot camera, upload it directly to a website and say, “I am a multimedia person!” The same goes with people who shoot video with a Flip camera and feel immediately smug as soon as they've uploaded it. Look out, Hollywood!
I think there’s more to it than that. A good multimedia professional needs to know how to take good pictures, crop them, tone them, resize, format and adapt them to the appropriate platform. He or she also needs to take good video and audio and learn how to appropriately edit it in order to create a good story. All this comes, of course, after doing excellent reporting.
To do this effectively you need not only skills but also time … precious time.