On Friday I met one of the San Jose Mercury News’ photojournalists, Richard Hernandez. He’s worked there 13 years and showed me a project he’s worked on for the last few weeks. I shot this video with my cell phone, I’ll have a longer, more-professional interview up with both Richard and VuVox’s CEO up later this week.
This floored me as a way for photojournalists to cover news stories and other things in a new way.
What did Richard do? An interactive photocollage for today’s newspaper. Well, it’s not in the newspaper. But it goes along with an article that was done for the newspaper on one of Silicon Valley’s famous neighborhoods, Willow Glen.
This is the kind of stuff that bloggers rarely, if ever, do. It requires too much of an investment. Richard worked for a couple of weeks making images, collecting archive photos and videos and audio clips, and putting those together using VuVox‘s new unreleased photo collage software. Richard used a pre-release version of the software to create this photo collage.
So, what is it? It’s a strip of photos. You drag it back and forth with your mouse. When you see an icon or a frame on top of one of the photos you can click and play the media that’s there. Sometimes it’ll be an audio story. Sometimes it’ll be another, more detailed, picture. Sometimes it’ll be a video.
I found myself mesmerized by the ability to tell a new kind of story.
Imagine going to a fire and taking an overall image and then laying on top of that video, audio, text (links to other stories) and having a much more complete photo story there.
Or, putting up a picture of a map where something happened and then linking audio and video off of that?
Or, for me, just a new way to show you my baby pictures?
Anyway, the longer video which shows how he built this will be up later this week. Richard also said he’d love to come along on a future photowalking and teach us a few things. Can’t wait!
Will this save photojournalism? Well, I imagine that this will draw new kinds of audiences to the Mercury News’ pages. Those audiences will stick around a long time (I’ve already spent 10 minutes playing around with it this morning, and I’m not even 1/8th of the way through it all). And they’ll be likely to click on advertising experiences (none are in Richard’s work, but he showed me how he could link off to Amazon, or other eCommerce sites and get an affiliate fee. Or, advertisers could just pay to have their brand included in the photo collage.
Nice to see the San Jose Mercury News is investing in new technology. I know they are having a rough time (Richard even hinted at it in the video when he joked he still has a job) but it’s things like this that will bring audiences back to newspaper brands and will give advertisers a new thing to engage with the Mercury News’ salespeople on.
Can’t wait to try it myself.