Crafting the New York Times Magazine’s A Game of Shark and Minnow

We had the opportunity to meet with part of the team behind The New York Times Magazine’s A Game of Shark and Minnow. Online Editor Samantha Henig, Photo Editor Clinton Cargill  and VII photographer  Ashley Gilbertson came to Columbia Journalism School to speak about how they crafted the multimedia presentation of the story. Here are some highlights from the conversation.

THE STORY IS THE POINT

Clinton Cargill: “There are a few things that make this story successful: It’s a piece of magazine journalism translated into a multimedia presentation. It has substance and the topic has wide ranging implications for our country. The readers were brought to it in a way that was sophisticated, seamless and experiential.”

FINDING THE APPROPRIATE METHOD FOR THE NARRATIVE

Samantha Henig: “It something that we still struggle with a lot. But it’s something that the magazine is pretty ahead of the newspaper. Magazine editors are used to packaging stories and identifying the visual elements.”

RE-SHAPING TO FIT THE WEB

Samantha Henig: “There was a whole extra level of editing so that the story could fit the digital presentation. The text is actually a bit different because there were places that we let the visuals tell the story. We had also some text run over the images, which was kind of a new thing for us to do.”

WHAT IS CRUCIAL TO UNDERSTAND THE STORY  

Samantha Henig: “It was important that we could find a way to surface as many photos and maps as we could. The visuals are a crucial element in this story.”

THE PARTS SHOULD COMPLEMENT EACH OTHER

Samantha Henig: “I think that it’s easier to make everything work together when you start with imagery. Whereas, when you start with an article and then stick a video onto it, the visuals are probably just going to replicate the written portion.”

PRINT-FRIENDLY VERSION

Samantha Henig: “The story editor wished he had an option to view text exactly the way it appeared in the magazine, because there were a couple of things that got cut. He thought that it was weird there was no way to see that online. We’ll have a print-friendly version next time.”

DIGITAL STORYTELLING FORMATS

Samantha Henig: “Multimedia packages are starting to look really similar each other. The question now is: what can we do to make something look really special? We still want to have the ability to signal the readers that is a story that they should definitely pay attention to and this one is just a normal article. We haven’t figured that out yet. All websites are evolving towards what the next thing is going to be.”

MORE THAN PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ashley Gilbertson: “If you treat your self as a photographer who lies in bed and waits for the phone to ring, you’re going to be a photographer all your life. But if you do research, come up with story ideas and collaborate with editors, you can become a storyteller.”

 

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *