News 21: A New Way Forward?

In the wake of my first encounter with “News 21,” I am extremely impressed with the layout and style of the  student-run website, whose hallmarks are in-depth reporting and the use of multimedia. 

“News 21” boasts their contributors are the most talented journalism students in the nation and after checking out this tech-savvy website, I believe they are probably correct. Each of the website’s projects, often affiliated with a particular university, utilize videos, photos and charts in an ingenious manner. In addition to simply adding to the news-story, “News 21’s” videos are strikingly effective in their own right. Most of the videos have a short running time, presenting the critical information in a concise manner that keeps the viewer’s attention, maximizing the video’s contribution to the larger story.

Specifically, the video, Lost in the Sprawl, featured on the University of California Berkeley “News 21” food and health project, The Ration, was an especially creative expose. The video was approximately eight minutes in length and used time-lapse video to reflect on the challenges facing independent farmers as suburbia expands into the hinterlands of Arizona.  

In a more general sense, the basic layout of “News 21” is done in a superb manner too. The website breaks up their in-depth investigations into three distinct categories, significantly easing the user experience. By breaking their investigative pieces into current investigations, national projects, and school specific projects, “News 21” allows an interested individual to quickly find the most intriguing piece.

Beyond my glowing reviews of the website’s ability to harness the power of multimedia and create an efficient layout I also support how “News 21” is training the next generation of journalists. The critical nature of the experience prospective journalists are gaining using multimedia for the organization is clearly apparent in the aforementioned quality of the site’s videos. Moreover, the way students cover issues for “News 21” provides the field of journalism with a bright future and the potential to return to a climate where important investigative news stories are the norm. The investigations featured on “News 21” including How Safe is Your Food?, Transportation Safety and Coal: A Love Story are particularly good examples of issues often ignored by the mainstream media, regardless of their importance to citizens throughout the United States of America.

 

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