Taking Media by Storm

A new form of journalism is also surfacing – a much longer and more intensive form, very different from the two minute news packages you see on nightly newscasts.

Brian Storm is the president of MediaStorm, an award winning production studio located in Brooklyn, New York, which publishes multimedia social documentary projects at http://www.mediastorm.org and produces them for other news organizations. He envisions the future of long-form, multimedia journalism from the perspective of its creation, distribution and economic viability.

Working with top visual storytellers, interactive designers and global organizations, MediaStorm creates cinematic narratives that speak to the heart of the human condition. MediaStorm collaborates with a diverse range of clients and is leading the way in the training of the next generation of journalists, teaching them how to harness the power of this storytelling to engage and inspire viewers.

MediaStorm is different than traditional journalism in many aspects. The company uses breathtaking photography and exquisite multimedia storytelling on the extremely important issues, such as the legacy of  Rwandan genocide, that mainstream news outlets can’t produce (due to short budgets).


Their storytelling philosophy, Storm said, is to let the subjects speak in their own words. They use on-screen text to connect the dots and drive the narrative, but the audio is in their sources’ own words.  They combine stills and video to great effect and always incorporate some kind of surprise for the audience.

The most interesting fact about MediaStorm is their viewership. Studies have shown that the average person will not watch an entire video if it exceeds two minutes. However, MediaStorm has a 65 PERCENT completion rate for one of their 21 minute videos. Meaning that 65 percent of those that start watching stick with it to the end – a truly amazing feat.

Does Storm have an answer for their high viewership?

1. Quality, quality, quality.  They are selective about the work they do, and they invest time and money in doing it right. No denying that’s a part of their success.

2. Audience expectations. If you plunk a big time-consuming multimedia project on a Web site where people expect relatively short news and feature stories they will feel too overwhelmed to take the time to really explore what you have to offer.  Instead, think about creating a separate site for your very best work, where you can cultivate a different set of expections. That is exactly what MediaStorm did.

3. Put content on as many platforms as possible. Make it easy for users to share it – via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Work hard on making sure the user experience is as seamless and non-frustrating as possible.



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