Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pioneering new media: the Web documentary

In class this week, my professor, Yvonne Latty, showed us a completely interactive web documentary called "Journey to the End of Coal."

It was produced by Honky Tonk Films, a French production company that focuses on Web documentaries. Their explanation of why they use the Internet as the platform to spread their docs? "We think the internet is a place to develop new narrative formats, where interactivity can help build great stories and involve our audience like never before."

(Screenshot of the documentary. The options it gives: Enter the slum,
or get back on the road.

I completely agree. And "Journey to the End of Coal" is a perfect example of how true this is. The premise of the documentary is that the viewer is a freelance journalist who has traveled to China to investigate some of the "most dangerous coal mines in the world." Each step of the way, the viewer is given options: where to go, who to speak to, what to ask.

It plays out almost like a video game, but the truth is everything is real and based on what two freelance journalists actually experienced. (Though, they do indicate names have been changed.)

All I can say is you have to see it yourself. It's something really different, really innovative and really cool.

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