The Power of Multimedia Storytelling


For class on Thursday, Oct. 15, read the “Drilling Down” boxes in the Briggs book on pages 164-5 and 178. Then watch this four-minute audio slideshow by The Washington Post, “No Greater Love.”

In a previous edition of Journalism Next, NBC News Vice President Stokes Young says the promise of multimedia storytelling is to provide what he calls an “immersive experience: bringing the story to viewers through multiple senses and, hopefully, bringing viewers into stories — the experiences of other folks — in ways that increase understanding.”

By 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14, leave a comment on this post (worth 5 class participation points) answering one of these questions:

  • Did “No Greater Love” deliver an “immersive experience” and, if so, how?
  • Would this story have been more or less powerful if told through video rather than through sound and still images?
  • Would this story have been more or less powerful if it used voiceover from the journalist, rather than relying entirely on sources for narration?


  1. This story would’ve been not near as powerful if it used voiceover from the journalist. By using the source for the entirety of the narration, her emotions were captured and really helped in creating emotion for the viewer to connect with the story. I loved how even the voice of her sister, though frail, was played through. She told stories about dancing together and having fun through their years of sisterhood that gave me goosebumps. That, coupled with the strong photos taken of the relationship between the two, the withering condition of her sister, and the during and after pictures from the funeral created a very strong and impressive story.


  2. “No Greater Love” would have been less powerful if it were told through video. Still photos require longer examination of the subject and draw viewers into the story more by demanding their attention to the details in the frame. This photo story also incorporated the use of title frames to guide the reader through the sisters’ relationship. Creating “No Greater Love” with video would also negate the use of voiceovers, which brought a personal element to the story by allowing viewers to internally visualize what Cassie Mornat’s and Rozzie Laney’s relationship was like through Mornat’s voice and other witness voices.


  3. “No Greater Love” definitely delivered an “immersive experience” through its still photos and interviews of sisters Classie Morant and Rozzie Laney. Stokes Young defined an “immersive experience” through multimedia storytelling as bringing the story to life through multiple senses, thus bringing viewers into the story. While watching “No Greater Love,” you forget you are only viewing still photos and instead get wrapped up into the incredible story of a sister’s love for her younger sister. The well-executed voices allow viewers to feel apart of this family, if only for four minutes, while the title frames expertly move the story along. The emotion is palpable, and I think an audio slideshow was the best way to achieve this feat for such an amazing and unique story.


  4. The story was very immersive. The photos were powerful and the audio was powerful. I think that if it had just been the journalist’s voice a lot would be lost. I would not have been as moved as I was hearing it from Classie. I think that the photos and the audio could have been quite powerful even viewed apart. Video would have been a little better, in my opinion. I felt a little distracted by hearing voice and movements and seeing a photo. I didn’t get enough time to look “into” the photo and “feel” what was being said at the same time. Still powerful though.


  5. “No Greater Love” would have been much less powerful if it were told by a journalist as opposed to being narrated. Because the sisters are able to talk and tell their own story, with the help of some subtitles and situational summaries, the audience is truly able to embrace the love and emotion being portrayed by the pictures. For instance, when the audience hears Classie crying following her sisters death, I was so moved by the sadness you could hear in her voice and tone. If a journalist would have merely described Classie crying or mentioned that she wept, this part of the story would have been especially less powerful. The narration further enables the audience to feel a connection the the sisters and the caretaker, they can develop a relationship with the “characters” and thus connect to them and their story on a much deeper level.


  6. I think this particular story was more powerful used with still photos and voiceovers rather than if the journalist had decided to use video. The still images create a more dramatic effect, and tell the story in a unique way. I think the photographs were taken in creative ways, almost artistically, which created a more immersive experience for the audience.


  7. “No Greater Love” was definitely an immersive experience. With the combination of photos and audio, you feel like you are actually in all the different rooms and you experience what is going on around you. What brought me in the story the most was seeing and hearing Classie’s reaction to her sister’s death. Because you witness the raw emotions, you really feel like you’re there.


  8. I absolutely believe that “No Greater Love” was an immersive experience. I truly felt as though I was there while the events were unfolding. I think the combination of photos and audio worked well together for this particular story because it created more of a “showing” not “telling” effect. With videos, it’s sometimes hard to focus on a particular image, especially when the camera and subjects are moving or the shots are changing quickly. The photos in this slideshow are carefully picked to match the audio, and thus, the story is more profound. For this particular story, I think the audio was best without the narration of a journalist because the recordings captured enough emotion through the voices, especially when Classie is crying or when someone is preaching at the funeral. I have actually never seen the combination of photos and audio to tell a story before, and I must say…I love it. I’m a huge fan of podcasts, so this type of journalism really appeals to me. This was a great story.


  9. I think the story did not need a video, the voiceover and still photos met all the needs of a reader to fully get I imerced in the story. The photographs told a story, which is different than most. I think it was creative and kept me watching.


  10. I really loved the way the pictures and the audio came together in this interactive slideshow. It showed the story of a enduring sibling relationship. The only thing I have to say is that it is hard to understand what they were saying at times. It captured the emotions so well. I don’t think a video is needed.


  11. I think “No Greater Love” was told perfectly. This story used photos and voiceovers and for this experience it was perfect. The two elements worked together to tell the story and ultimately captured raw emotion in a way that no other form of storytelling could have done appropriately. It was unique and unexpected way to tell a story given all of the technology we have today, but, especially for this story, it worked. I really liked the voiceover aspect that video may not have allowed – with more going on than just pictures, we might have missed what depth it brought to the story. The point of the story was the relationship and the love of the two sisters and Classie’s voiceover was awesome at narrating that.


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