Interactive Storytelling: Best Examples

Earlier this year, the NYTimes posted, 2013: The Year in Interactive Storytelling,  a stunning compilation of last year’s best NYTimes interactive stories, covering topics as disparate as rising healthcare costs, Spring Fashion week, the growing art markets in China, and a murder investigation in Florida. What each story shares, however, is the use of a combination of print, audio, graphics and video to tell the tale. In a 2013 ETY post, Telling Healthcare Stories via Multiple Media, our readers had a brief glimpse at this new form of storytelling from the NYTimes via Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Cedar Creek. Following are a few of my favorites from the “Best of 2013”, but if you have time, every story I’ve clicked through has value for the budding non-fiction storyteller looking to find new ways to share content.

  • Using interactive infographics in Front Row to Fashion Week, NYTimes artists make the sea-foam, lime green and fire orange designer-favorite colors of Spring Fashion week explode from the screen, even allowing viewers to drill down for a closer look at each of Oscar de la Renta’s spring floral cocktail dresses as though they were shopping the streets of 5th Avenue.
  • Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 9.36.41 AMIn Paying Till It Hurts, authors, artists and filmmakers use interactive graphics as well as video to show the difference between the cost of a hip replacement in Belgium ($13,660) and a knee replacement in the US ($125,000+). By clicking on the arrow in the center of the image within the NYTimes story, the page comes to life as Michael and Susan share two very different healthcare experiences.
  • In A Culture of Bidding: Forging An Art Market in China, a beautiful interactive graphic reveals multiple pieces of Chinese art sold at auction, such as “Eagle Standing on a Pine Tree,” a 1946 ink painting by Qi Baishi, a Chinese master, which sold for $65.4M. This piece, like many others, remain in storage unpaid for by the winning bidder, as the authenticity of the pieces are questioned by those afraid to sign the final check.
  • In Two Gunshots on a Summer Night, the use of moving images along with 911 audio tapes and police interviews make the shooting death of a police officer’s girlfriend all too real for viewers, putting the guilt or innocence of the suspects on display for closer evaluation in ways unattainable by print alone.

Interactive storytelling is the future. It’s costly and much more time-consuming than a typical piece of journalism–and it’s a considerably collaborative effort versus the solo journey of a reporter. The results, however, make viewers feel as though they are there in the moment getting to know the subjects and stories in real-time, forming bonds and attachments to the characters on a much more personal level. I look forward to what the NYTimes has in store for the future!

3 Comments on “Interactive Storytelling: Best Examples”

  1. […] Here are some of Tracy’s favorites from her post “Interactive Storytelling:  Best Examples:” […]

    • Hannah says:

      Thanks Tracy! I’m doing this for Jordan Shelton’s class and I’m picking a piece.

      • Tracy Granzyk MS says:

        That’s great!! So glad you can use this post — it is visited regularly so I think people are really enjoying the interactive storytelling examples!

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