Digital Storytelling

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Picturing the cost of power

By Digital Storytelling October 5, 2009

Mitch Epstein’s "American Power" depicts the landscape as political narrative. The American photographer, who has chronicled cultural complexities in India and Vietnam, now homes his camera in on dissonances within his own culture. The subject of "American Power" is energy in America—its production, consumption, and unintended consequences. And embedded in the terrain of the images is a critique of American power in the other sense of the word—its destructiveness and contradictions. Like an unflattering mirror, Epstein’s pictures reflect back the troublesome realities that the exercise of American power can create. Read the full essay. Read more

Could World of Warcraft be the new War and Peace?

By Digital Storytelling October 1, 2009

Whether Pacman or Halo first introduced you to video games, calling them “high art” might stretch the sensibilities. But boardwalk nickelodeons led to movies like The Godfather —could a similarly radical transformation be underway with games? Narrative journalism draws many of its core principles from novels, films, and short stories. Elements like character development, scene-setting, and a narrative arc work whether the tale is true or made up. Games, however, are different. "There are characters and stories in games, just like there are characters and stories in linear media, so it feels like you’re dealing with something that’s in the same ballpark,” says Chris Swain, associate professor at the University of Southern California’s Games Institute. “But I actually believe that they’re very different.” Read the full story. Read more

Interview with Ed Kashi: Taking it beyond the media

By Digital Storytelling September 3, 2009

We talked with photojournalist Ed Kashi about visual storytelling, advocacy journalism, and his photo series on Trans Amadi Slaughter, an abattoir on the Niger Delta. Q: At the Digest, we’ve talked about whether a series of photos needs to work the same way as a print story: a character, a conflict, rising tension, climax, resolution. Do you think a photo montage or a slide show functions by the same rules? Or does it have a different narrative structure? A: I think it can go both ways. The beauty or the exciting aspect of multimedia is that we can try new things. It seems like some proponents are saying there’s only one way to tell a narrative: the beginning, the middle, transformation, and the end. There’s nothing wrong with classic modes of storytelling. They’re effective, and they’ll continue to be effective. There’s a reason they work. Read full interview ... Read more