Transmedia storytelling, new journalism & digital curation

tuttle2texasI’ve become more aware of a few things recently while thinking about getting these “social art” projects off the ground.

Firstly I’ve started to track the term “transmedia” on twitter and seen an awful lot of related and interesting stuff. There’s lots of excitement in the film, TV & videogame worlds about this. Advertising too. Exploring the value in the creation of fictional universes that can be expressed or explored in a variety of media, moving beyond the idea of this stuff as merchandise or spin-off material and seeing it as a part of the creative process. At least that’s my reading of where things are going. So instead of making the “game of the movie of the book” etc. ie taking an existing property and extending into another medium, they are planning stories that are told in a variety of ways for a variety of audiences, including those created by fans, the people formerly known as the audience.

Secondly, I’ve seen that Dave Winer is getting into his stride at NYU and “organising” a hypercamp this week on “Sources Go Direct” sadly it’s not on at a good time for me to watch & participate live, but it’s being ustreamed and presumably that will be archived along with everything else. The bit of Dave’s thinking that I’m most drawn to here is what he’s been saying for a while about opening up journalists’ processes and notebooks – “open sourcing” their stories and articles so that others might see what stories they might make out of the same material.

Then over the weekend, JP has written two important posts about digital curation. The second of which in particular deals with curation in the age of unbundling. What I’m talking about is unbundling in the sense that a book, film, photo exhibition, whatever is a bundle (with all sorts of preconceptions about how they are produced and distributed) and we’re not predefining which bundle we might choose to create when setting out to explore an idea.

My interest is more in the “real” world than in fictional universes. They’re amazing and fascinating and are giving us endearing and engagingly fresh cultural artefacts that help us understand ourselves better and yet, I’m left thinking “why not explore our own universe?” I’m also drawn more to the more reflective forms that we used to call features, factual and documentaries rather than the current affairs end of journalism.

That, I think is what #tuttle2texas was a prototype for – a series of explorations of spaces or ideas, a series of true (whatever that means) stories that help us understand ourselves better, expressed in a variety of media, open-sourced and unbundled for curation, remix, re-use whatever you want.

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6 thoughts on “Transmedia storytelling, new journalism & digital curation”

  1. Good points. ‘Open source’ in its loosest sense, can be applied to so much these days. It’s a useful philosophy to apply to anything when you want to consider a more modern version of it.

    I’ve been enjoying how open all the Guardian live blogs are. I like seeing journalists make and then correct mistakes as stories develop.

    Seeing a journalist apologise for believing that Israel was managing to block tweets on the #flotilla hashtag, only to be reprimanded by colleagues as a conspiracy theorist, was so refreshing.

    And, although it’s mostly about fiction, here’s a post of mine about digital storytelling and campfires:
    http://101culture.com/how-to-tell-stories-in-the-digital-age

  2. Interesting that you are thinking about and writing about transmedia storytelling. I’d say the leading thinker in this is Henry Jenkins who wrote Convergence Culture, which you may want to check out. You are correct that it is mostly entertainment that is fulfilling transmedia efforts, but I think it is going beyond just that medium nowadays.

    Since hearing about the Purefold entertainment project by Ag8 last year from the bTWEEN conference, I also became fascinated with what transmedia is exactly. Rightly or wrongly, I am describing myself as a transmediaist — because of how I’ve used multi-mediums to communicate stories over the years. The most famous story I told was that of out-of-work New Yorkers, following 9/11, for the WeWantWork.com campaign I co-founded and was spokesperson for, telling the story across online, broadcast and print media channels, around the world. There’s been other transmedia adventures I’ve gotten up to and am currently working on, so if you want to talk transmedia sometime, I’m happy to do so, along with my transmedia collaborator @ClarendonMedia.

    1. Hi Lisa, thanks for this, perhaps we should talk next time you’re at #tuttle. Thanks for the reminder to read Convergence Culture, it’s been on my “must read” list for quite a while :)

  3. I am in total agreement with you Lloyd about transmedia not just dipping into fictional universes. My background is in journalism so I’m more interested in the convergence of transmedia with real stories. That’s how you get real audience participation. I’m collaborating with Lisa on an exciting climate change project so we should all definitely have a chinwag!

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