Recontextualisation of news stories has long been a common practice (Erdal, 2009, p. 184; Alysen, 2012, p. 27). Therefore, before commencing the unit, I had an understanding that a single story could be ‘refashioned’ (Erdal, 2009, p. 180) to suit different contexts such as radio, print and television. However, this understanding was developed without due consideration of the role social media plays, and the new multi platform approach adopted by news sites when addressing events.
Employing multiple platforms to tell a single story adds an unprecedented depth to the news. In what would previously have required, as a minimum, a feature length print article, by using multi platform storytelling methods (such as video packages to supplement print news articles), journalists are able to effectively communicate the significance of events in less time. So long as the video package adds value to the print news article (Erdal, 2009, p.185; Bolin, 2010, p. 73), audiences are able to quickly engage with a number of resources to develop a broader understanding of unfolding news.
Prior to commencing this unit, although I was aware that this approach is used by journalists, I did not understand the intricacies of this approach to communication. The third assessment for this unit was particularly useful in testing my practical understanding of its intricacies. Attempting to derive ‘something more’ (Erdal, 2009, p. 185) from my initial understanding of the Rally Against the US-Australian Military Alliance was a rewarding challenge. Whilst, admittedly, my initial approach to the task resulted in limitations to what I could achieve in my efforts to tell the story over multiple platforms, the challenge in doing so deepened my understanding of the approach that a seasoned journalist would take to the task of multi platform storytelling. In ‘refashioning’ (Erdal, 2009, p. 180) the story from a number of different angles, to suit different platforms, the journalist is able to anticipate and address some of the questions which may arise in the minds of audiences. As I attempted to do this, I thought that audiences may like to know more about the US-Australian military alliance, and the relative power of those opposed to it. Having the option to communicate this through multiple platforms – print news and Facebook Live streaming – added a depth that I may not have been able to previously create. Whilst there were flaws in my Facebook Live stream, in that it was purely a snippet of the event with no ‘on camera’ explanation of what was happening, I was still able to see the value in using such tools to elaborate on news stories (Bolin, 2010, p. 73).
The value of social media in multi platform storytelling was further brought to my attention in the analysis of different media outlets’ coverage of the arrest of Cassie Sainsbury. Whilst similar news stories in the past may have received some media attention, it is likely that they faded from the public conscience within a few days, unless further developments occurred. However, with the assistance social media, news outlets were able to examine the arrest over a number of weeks, providing re-examinations of Cassie Sainsbury’s personal history. Facebook in particular provided the opportunity for news outlets to present themselves as fully informed and up to date on the matter by live streaming developments – such as the return of Cassie Sainsbury’s family from Colombia. By live streaming, with the ability for audiences to submit comments and reactions as the event unfolds, an unprecedented dimension of audience involvement is achieved (Alysen, 2012, p.6).
The tasks throughout this unit have deepened my understanding of the manner in which one story can be told via multiple media platforms, so as to broaden audience’s understanding of the news events.
Alysen, B. (2012). The electronic reporter (3rd ed.). Sydney, Australia: University of NSW Press.
Bolin, G. (2010). Digitisation, multiplatform texts, and audience reception. Popular communication, 8(1), 72-83. doi: 10.1080/15405700903502353
Erdal, I. (2009). Repurposing of content in multi-platform news production. Journalism practice, 3(2), 178-195. doi: 10.1080/17512780802681223