On Dec. 20, 2013, The New York Times wowed readers and industry peers alike with the publication of an interactive feature called “Snow Fall,” which told the story of a fatal avalanche in Washington’s Cascade Mountains this past February. It was not your ordinary multimedia feature. It brought words, pictures, video and interactive graphics together in a whole new way that had many hailing the project as a harbinger of the future of journalism. What made “Snow Fall” both so successful and so widely lauded? The feature marked a big step forward in the evolution of online storytelling. From the earliest stages of developing “Snow Fall,” writers, researchers, designers, developers and multimedia experts all worked together to craft a compelling narrative wreathed in a natural user experience. One of the great accomplishments of “Snow Fall” is how it made its multimedia elements not feel tacked on or awkwardly lodged into sidebars, but rather part of a natural, contiguous reading experience. NYTimes.com graphics director Steve Duenes told Poynter that the goal of the feature was “so it didn’t feel like you were taking a detour, but the multimedia was part of the one narrative flow.” As you scroll through the story, which The Atlantic Wire rightly calls an “experience-based feature,” the placement of various elements is contextual, the transitions between them smooth, and the structure compelling and sensible.
As of July 1, 2013 the School of Liberal Arts was restructured and initiated a new Humanities- based department from existing humanities programs. The new department, Department of Communication and The Arts, will consist of the following Programs: Communications Studies; Media Studies (TV and Radio Production, Film Studies and Journalism); Speech; Music Technology; Art; and Computer Animation. This re-structuring was conceived with the thought that new synergies could be created. We began exploring these synergies by trying to find what we had in common. We all tell stories.
I welcome you all to the 21st Century of storytelling.