Defining Multimedia Journalism

“Multimedia” is a dynamic form of journalism that engages the audience and uses interactivity to help tell a story, a UT doctoral student presenter said Saturday during the fifth annual International Symposium on Online Journalism.

Multimedia’s integration of more than one medium has allowed for an extension of reporting that has been great for young adults, and especially non-readers, said Amy Zerba, a graduate student at UT-Austin, during a panel Saturday on “Reconsidering Journalism and Its Effects on a Wired World.”

“The use of multiple channels has heightened the user experience,” she said.

Zerba analyzed multimedia journalism in her paper, “Redefining Multimedia Toward a More Packaged Journalism Online.”

Through interviewing journalists nationwide and analyzing online websites, Zerba found that multimedia journalism combines text, photographs, audio, video and graphics in order to give an audience additional ways to understand information.

Because of its many components, the attempt to define the journalistic term “multimedia” presents a challenge to scholars.

“I’m interested in this kind of storytelling, but there has been no clear definition of what it actually is,” Zerba said. “What does it mean, what does it look like, what is its purpose?”

ISOJ 2004: Reconsidering Journalism, from Knight Center on Vimeo.