Journalism as a Piece of Art?

Posted on: April 11, 2013


The New York Times published the article “Snow Fall Piece” in December 2012, which got a lot of attention. It is about skiers who experience avalanches in the Cascada Mountains.                                                                                                                                   

When hearing about the article, I didn´t expect what I saw when I first entered the website to read it. It didn´t look like a usual news article, even more, it seemed like a story composed of a variety of visuals.

Immediately in the beginning, I realized that this article is uniquely built. It includes videos, infographics, photos, and animations. The reader is confronted with a large number of visuals; however, the audience is more entertained than overwhelmed.  

I found it catching and it pulled me into the story. It didn´t seem like a news story in that moment, even more, it felt like reading a novel. Without the visuals, the long text probably would have caused me to lose attention even though it is very well written.

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What impressed me besides the visuals are the personal stories. It gives the audience the ability to feel what these people experienced. This ability has been emphasized through descriptive words. The challenge of telling news in an interesting way has been accomplished which inspires me as an aspiring journalist.

Since this kind of journalism differentiates so much from other news stories, it can be described as a revolutionary piece. It shows how our technology developed in the past years, and how this affects journalism and the growing opportunities of journalists.

It can be clearly seen how multimedia helps to tell a story, and how catching a story can be for a variety of people. Moreover, the use of multimedia gives the audience the chance to take a break from reading. They can simply enjoy what they see and gain energy for the next paragraphs.   


In addition, the journalists who created the piece used a large number of techniques we learned in Online-Journalism.  First, there is the availability of multimedia, which we also need to have when writing our eight stories.  Both the article in the New York Times, as well as the stories we have to write, include video journalism and photojournalism and show that journalists need to be multimedia talents these days.

Second, we are encouraged to use hyperlinks which can also be seen in the “Snow Fall Piece.” We, as well as the journalists who wrote the article, are challenged that the multimedia fits the text and to get the reader´s attention.

As a student journalist, most inspiring about the piece is to see how the article gets its readers. It is always challenging to make a long story attractive to the reader and to make that person interested enough to keep his or her attention throughout the piece.


Also, I like how it shows all the opportunities journalists have when creating stories these days. It doesn´t have to be plain text, journalist can show their creative side and set each other apart. Every individual can create his or her own style not only when it comes to writing, but also when it comes to photography, videography, and other inventive ideas. They have a variety of opportunities.

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As a consumer of news, I really enjoyed how the story is built up. It seems as if the reader was actually there since he or she can imagine what the area looks like. Moreover, it is an advantage that the paragraphs are very short. Like that, the whole text doesn´t seem as long as it actually is, which is important since a lot of people don´t like to read long articles nowadays.

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The story fits well together which is probably because of the aid of visuals. Moreover, it seems as if the journalists thought deeply about how to start the piece. Already the beginning is very catching and different than a reader would expect an article to be. The multimedia on top engages the readers and makes him or her likely to read. What I also liked is the information of people on the side when a new person appeared in the story.  

My own question, however, is if the “Snow Fall Piece” can still be considered journalism. Is it simply a very different version, or does it count as telling a story? The length and descriptive words are aspects which are normally avoided when it comes to writing news. However, it gives valuable information which is in the public´s interest.

I think it is just a different version to tell a story, which might inspire other journalists to try something similar in the future since it was such a success. When thinking about the reaction of other journalists and them trying to create something similar, it might also be the case that they feel challenged and try to be better and always want to add something new. This, however, wouldn´t change the journalism industry a lot since it is always progressing.     


I would like to know how other journalists reacted on that piece. Are they overwhelmed, proud, or simply challenged that they didn´t have the idea to produce something similar?                                                                                                                                

I believe that most journalists look up to that piece and might use some of the ideas in their own stories; however, I doubt that journalism will change into that direction completely.


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