Analysis of an effective of multimedia package

I chose to write about the infographic produced by the Washington Post back in December 2010. I chose it for its simplicity and ease of navigation. The information is clearly received and very informative. The graphic illustrates the NRA’s (National Rifle Association) electoral influence in the mid-term elections for congress. To me, there are two things that a multimedia package must do:

1) A package must be understandable for all audiences. You want to coach the reader though your idea because many times the multimedia piece is either the most important part of the story or the biggest part of the story. Often an infographic in a multimedia package is the most complex information married into a wonderful, easy to understand picture that we can click through, sort and adjust to view specific pieces of data. The infographic traditionally makes the hardest elements of a story easier to understand using javascript functions to show illustrations and text.

2) Using multimedia enhances a story’s appeal and brings an emotional connection to the reader (if it’s a video) or a clear representation of complex data (if it’s an infographic). The point of media is to supply an engaging representation of the story being presented.

This infographic does it for me. It’s not a video, but it supplies a lot of data for me to look at that I otherwise wouldn’t read if it was all text. An infographic like this slows down the reader’s eyes and allows for concentration on one particular subject of the article.

The graphic highlights the NRA’s national influence in the midterm elections from 2010. From the graphic you can clearly see that the NRA spent almost six million dollars on endorsements. The NRA won 19 endorsements out of a possible 25 in the elections. The winning states are clearly visible as they are illuminated in red, while the others are gray. When you hover over a state, it gives you candidate information and the winner. I really think this is effective because the graphic condenses a lot of heavy reading into a crisp clean graphic. If I was constructing a media package that was meant to display basically over 50 columns of information with multiple rows, I’d do something similar to this. A table of the size mentioned above would be obtuse and unappealing. The New York Times is good about constructing graphics for a mass audience.

However, what makes this infographic ineffective is its terminology. There is verbiage that could be simpler, and the key could be better publicized so that we don’t have to analyze it before finally understanding it. I think the rating system could have been better illustrated as well. Someone who doesn’t follow politics would not really understand this.

The bottom line is, multimedia packages paired with text stories have a far greater impact on the reader than a traditional text story. In the age of digital content, multimedia packages can make or break a news story. Getting them right is of critical importance if you want to keep a reader involved in the story.







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