Monday, 24 November 2014

Storify: Is it all that singing and dancing?

So Storify was something very new to me, the concept of curating information via various different news sources and social media platforms seemed a rather bizarre concept at first.  However, after getting better acquainted with how it worked, it opened my eyes to a whole new form of journalism.

One of the main things I identified with Storify was that most of the stories created had adopted a style that informed, entertained or did both.  Storify enabled you to curate snippets of information that could then be juxtaposed against one another for comedic effect.  By placing two opposing, or very different bits of information side by side, Storify’s structure allowed you set the tone of your story.  This was something I utilised within my Storify; ‘Tracey Emin and Co. on living the dream’; by placing a Twitter post next to a video of Harry and Paul’s I saw you coming, I communicated something that was both informative yet funny
The two different types of media formats corresponded with one another, allowing me to both tell a story and express an opinion.  Through this, I was made aware of the possibilities Storify offered, it redefined the conventional news story and made reading a little more engaging.  Rather than being bombarded with a heavy amount of text or a breakdown of 140 character fragments, Storify offered a multi-dimensional reading whilst still giving you the facts.

Furthermore, you can exploit Storify’s structure to highlight a variety of perspectives regarding a certain topic or piece of news.  This allows you to collate pieces of information and news exploiting different concepts and ideas.  As a result, Storify's can be seen to contain a lot more depth due to encouraging alternative thinking. If you're also particularly passionate about a piece of journalism or news, Storify allows you to make use of various media platforms to construct a strong argument/story for or against that piece.

Before curating my Storify's, I really had to think about what I wanted to say in order to make the curation process as efficient as possible.  I also had to take into consideration how I could manipulate Storify’s structure to execute my story in a successful way.  After evaluating these factors I decided, like I would with any news story or piece of journalism, that planning my Storify beforehand was the smartest option.  This parallel came as a surprise to me, as although Storify adopts a very modern layout, its fundamental structure is still based on traditional ways of reporting.  This relationship between the old and the new was something I found to be incredibly refreshing.

The major negative thing about using Storify was that the curation process was rather time consuming. Admittedly, the fresher your topic, the easier your Storify was to curate, but even then you had to factor in things such as; arrangement of content as well as how engaging it was.  Although I felt my Storify’s were successful and I was happy with them, I just didn't feel they were worth the time and effort to put together, or the time and effort to read.  I felt that if you were really that interested in a particular topic or piece of journalism, that you would go and take the time to research it and source it's original origins anyway.

I understand what Storify is trying to do, and I definitely don’t think it’s a bad thing; creating a new narrative from strands of an old one is a really unique and clever way of communicating something. It also offers opportunities to put a creative twist on a standard news story, making reading a little more informal and engaging.  However, for me it lacked authority, the fragmented nature of Storify, felt as though information was being summarised, rather than explained, leaving me with something that I enjoyed but couldn't really rely on.

However, using Storify has encouraged me to think about other types of media when writing and reporting news and journalism.  It has shown me that it's not fixed, but flexible in format and that utilising other media platforms within a piece of journalism can actually enhance a story and make it stronger.  Storify has also reiterated just how important structure is and that without a solid foundation, stories are flawed.  Overall, I would recommend using Storify, be it only for a short period of time.  It's a great way to explore and interact with a wide range of media platforms as well as get creative with them.  I just don't think I'll be whacking out the jazz hands just yet.

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