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Interactive Journalism - What is a Story? - Science Po
WHAT IS A STORY ? A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO REPORTING
Chewbahat Storytelling Lab
Photojournalist (France, U.S.A)
(Abaca, Polaris, Gamma, Corbis)
The Moneyocracy Project
Grozny: Nine City (interactive part)
Winner of the 2014 Bayeux-Calvados Prize
for Web Reportage
NON LINEAR STORY
A panorama of the different structures used in
The most classical way to tell a story.
Examples: Bucarest Below Ground – Le Corps Incarcéré – 127 Rue de la Garenne
+ : Easy to create, easy to use, that’s the traditional way to structure a story (chapters, pages
etc) . You can easily control the narrative arc. Info overload (difference between nb of stories
available and stories actually seen) is null.
- : No interaction, little engagement, every users haas the same XP (experience)
Very common structure for interactive documentaries. The user enter the story by a hub
of “objects” (map, list, mosaïc). Not for fiction
Examples: The iron curtains – Behind the Veil
+ : Apparent simplicity, Liberty, possibility to aggregate non-homogenous pieces of content .
- : Risk to loose the intention of the author, Info Overload very high, the user can feel lost in
front of these multiple choices.
A very well known structure in interactive documentaries, that the used by ”Prison
Valley”. A mix between linear and non-linear structure that allows to visit additional
Examples: Pine Point – Prison Valley – The Defector
+ : Strong narrative structure, good interactivity, the user can see all the content, the author is
- : Can be deceptive because if the story stands alone, why should see other contents? Info
Overload moderate, be carefull not to create more than 2 levels of content.
The story gives different choices to the user (2 or more), at certain points of the story,
the user has to decide whether he takes left or right and that decision will shape the rest
of his/her XP
Examples: Journey to the end of coal
+ : Interactivity very high, lots of choices, true sensation of liberty, Info Overload low, the user is
engaged with the choices he/she makes.
- : High cost of production (lots of choices), a part of the story won’t be seen by the user,
necessity to think about different type of scenario
Branching story organized around gathering points, the user has to go through these
Examples: Jour de Vote – 6 million dead
+ : Interactivity very high, lots of choices, liberty a bit more limited but the feeling is still here,
cost of production moderate, engagement is pretty high due to good interactivity
- : Can be deceptive for those who expect a true freedom
The story is narrated from different perspectives. It is a parallel story structure but with
different characters in which different stories are crossing each others.
Examples: Inside Disaster Haïti - Amour
+ : Good User experience, different stories can be experienced. The user can jump from node
to node as he/she wishes.
- : Info Overload can be high, very risky to loose the user. The links between stories can be
complicated. Complexity at the production level.