Illustrated Journalism

Comics journalism is exactly what it sounds like: a hybrid of comic book-style illustrations and reporting. We interviewed some of the pioneers of the graphic journalism field about their projects and publications, and the way they're contributing to journalism.

Anatomy of a Viral Video

Prior to entering journalism school, I interned for the digital department at an entertainment company in NYC. One main objective at this company was to create videos that had the potential to get lots of views, i.e. videos that would go “viral.” As long as the videos were entertaining and attracted lots of eyeballs, they were considered successful.

I began to understand what made these types of videos popular, but I wondered if the producers of videos that dealt with more serious topics followed the same guidelines. Was there someone in every newsroom video department saying things like, “Make that petty theft more entertaining, so it gets more views”?

There are some companies out there who are successful at getting more important stories to go viral – Mashable, BuzzFeed and YouTube are some of the better-known examples. In journalism school, we didn’t learn “the rules” of  producing viral news content. Do rules even exist?

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Four Steps to a Video Story

Last month, the Digital Media Associates– members of one of our fellowship programs at the Columbia Journalism school- produced the video above as a team. We wanted to share our process, because while it’s a short, straightforward story, the steps we took to produce the piece are the same steps we’d take to make a full-length documentary. We’ll walk you through the reporting, shooting, storyboarding and editing of a video that might be similar to the videos you’ll produce.

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XXI and 6 mois magazines: visual journalism… with a French twist

At a time when newsrooms around the world have embraced digital transition, two French publications are defying the odds by producing long-form visual journalism...in print. "XXI" focuses on reportage, and showcases photos, comics, text and illustrations, centered around a strong narration. "6 Mois" is dedicated to photojournalism, with contributions from all around the world.

Covering Protest in Ferguson: “I didn’t expect it to feel like war.”

Salima Koroma didn’t think her first first out-of-state assignment would be the historic protests over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. She’s been producing video for Time’s online video team for just about two months, and last week they bought her a one-way ticket to Ferguson, Missouri.

Before starting at Time, she graduated from the documentary program at the Columbia University Journalism School, where she produced her own documentary, Bad Rap, and was a producer for NowThisNews. Columbia Visuals talked to Koroma about her experience producing video from Ferguson.

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Covering Protest in Ferguson: “These are people, not sound bites.”


Brent McDonald is a senior video journalist with the New York Times. He produced “Standoff in Ferguson,” a three-minute video for the Times that was published on August 14th, in the midst of protests over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

McDonald has been producing video for over ten years, and has been with the Times since 2005. Columbia Visuals spoke with him by phone from Ferguson, Missouri, on August 15th. He told us about the mood there and gave us some details on his production methods. (more…)

Covering Protest in Ferguson: “they’re not fooling around down here”

David Carson has been a newspaper photographer for more than 25 years, and he's been covering the protests over the killing of Michael Brown since the day the eighteen-year-old was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri. He says he arrived at the scene on August 10th, "while the police were still hosing the blood from the street." We asked him some questions about photographing the historical protests happening in his community, and his advice for young photographers covering protests for the first time.

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“They wanted others to know about their experiences.”

Documentary film program alumni Jeng-Tyng Hong and Matthew Claiborne, both class of 2013, spent their time at Columbia Journalism School working on a short documentary about the use of solitary confinement in New York prisons. They screened their film at the Catskill Mountains Film Festival and their characters use the film to raise awareness about fair treatment in prison. 

We interviewed Jeng-Tyng about their film, The Ex-Periment, and what they learned during production.

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“less about raising money and more about marketing the film”

Filmmakers today have to be their own production companies, PR agencies, and distributors. Columbia Journalism School alum  Salima Amina Koroma, class of 2013, exemplifies the way young filmmakers have taken control of all aspects of producing a documentary. (more…)

“You just need 20 seconds of insane courage.”

Leslye Davis is a name you’ll want to remember. At only 23, she is already a visual journalist at The New York Times, where she began working as an intern and was quickly hired to work as a multimedia producer for projects across multiple desks at The Times. Davis spoke to us about how she started, her approach to stories and her experience at the paper.  (more…)

50 Children. 50 Cameras.

Francis and Stephanie Lane are the founders of Silent Tapes, a non-profit that uses photography to document the lives of people in various slums around the world. Their latest project will take place this summer in the favelas of Fortaleza, Brazil, where they will lead a five-week photography workshop for 50 children.

This is what it’s like being a female photojournalist in India.

We spoke to several Indian journalists to understand what it’s like working as a female visual journalist in India today, how they overcome the limitations of working in a society that still retains a strong gender bias, and what advice they’d give to young women who’d like to work in India someday.

The State of Video Now

This past Monday, April 14, the Columbia Journalism School hosted a panel on the State of Video. This was the culminating event for a report called “Video Now: The Forms, Cost, and Effect of Video Journalism,” sponsored by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the Knight Foundation and produced by Duy Linh Tu, Professor and Head of Digital Media at the Journalism School. (more…)

“It all comes down to building trust.”

Luke Malone, CUJ ’13, is an Australian journalist based in New York City, and the producer of “Secrets of the Living Dolls,” a documentary that features men who dress up in elaborate latex female bodysuits.

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