In this module, I found it exceedingly difficult to pick a favourite and least favourite out of the multimedia projects listed. I found that I admired the Starved for Attention multimedia project, but as for a least favourite, well… there wasn’t one that I disliked. Instead I have decided to critique the Goa Hippy Tribe, which I actually really liked, but there were few aspects that I didn’t.
Starved for Attention, published by Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2010, is an impressive multimedia campaign exposing the neglected and vastly invisible crisis of childhood malnutrition. Produced with photojournalists from the VII agency, the long-term project ‘rewrites the story of malnutrition through a series of multimedia documentaries that seamlessly blend photography and video.’ Starved for Attention captures frontline stories of malnutrition from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, India, Mexico, and the United States.
Starved for Attention is aesthetically simple, but impressive. The linear structure of the project is clear and easy to navigate. The photographs in the background, which are outstanding photographs, change as the user scrolls through each of part the project. The photographs are engaging and add to the overall theme of the project. The project employs interactivity by allowing the user to dictate what elements of the project they wish to view. The user may view the main multimedia documentary, e.g. ‘Why do we have to wait for a crisis?’ or view only the slideshow of photos used in the short film or perhaps read the story that accompanies the short film or read up on the photographer. The interactivity enhances the project because it allows the user to be in control and this is appealing to most users.
Starved for Attention employs tabs (Take Action, Events, Campaign Blog, About and Press) which are located top right of the site, where the user can read further into the campaigns’ aims and sign the projects’ petition demanding that donor nations stop supplying nutritionally substandard food to malnourished children. The project utilises hyperlinks connected to Twitter and Facebook to increase presence on the Internet by reaching a wider audience.
The multimedia project uses an array of media; text, photography, film, graphics and audio, to pull off an impressive, emotive and innovative form of advocacy journalism.
Goa Hippy Tribe, produced by SBS, is an interactive documentary that tells the story of the original Goan hippies who met over forty years ago. They travelled the ‘Hippy Trail’, an overland passage through Europe and the Middle East to India gravitating to the Goa’s beaches and embracing Eastern spiritualism. They were soldiers, artists and businessmen, many of who were fed up with corporate life. This multimedia project explores what happened to these people, and ‘the hopes and dreams and ideals that inspired a generation.’
The project is extremely interactive. Before entering the site, the user must obtain a virtual passport by using their Facebook account. I thought this interactive aspect was pretty damn cool. The site then moves through to the interviews, which are ordered, however the user can click ‘browse all stories’ where they can select and watch whichever story they wish. A backpack icon at the bottom left of the screen allows the user to access ‘extras’ (extra content) along their own Goan adventure through the site, however in order to access all the extras, such as articles, galleries, videos and music, the user must view the majority of interviews. Personally, I found this feature confusing and slightly annoying because I wanted to access the extra content without having to watch the interviews, but I suppose that’s the point of the user’s “virtual journey” through the site. In my opinion, the site employs a lot of content, which can be confusing and overwhelming. Too much interactivity can detract from the story.
Goa Hippy Tribe interconnects with Facebook by allowing the user to share posts about the project on their Facebook profile. The project creates an audience by having a strong presence on social media. Goa Hippy Tribe Facebook page was actually set up to connect the original Goan hippies to one another and to share their stories.
The multimedia project utilises text, photography, graphics, video and sound to enhance the stories of the Goan hippies, e.g. the audio use of traditional Indian instruments sets the scene for the stories.
Both multimedia projects are visually and audibly outstanding and innovative. Starved for Attention and Goa Hippy Tribe are examples of convergent journalism that have challenged traditions and opened up new possibilities for digital storytelling.