It’s a busy day at the J-School today. We are hosting the Schuneman Symposium, an annual event that brings together the doers and think-tanks of the industry who talk about the new trends in the industry and where the jobs are. This year the focus is on photojournalism and new media and we celebrate entrepreneurs; people who created something of their own with a small team, something that are passionate about. Jim Spencer the creator of Newsy was one of the speakers today and he pointed out that starting with something small but being consistent with it is really the key.
Our capstone class pretty much embodies the same philosophy. We are creating this website from scratch and learning as we go along. More than just writing our own stories, here we are responsible for building and growing an audience. The idea is to build a community, who will not only read our stories and give us a tip, but also take the conversation forward.
So far, we have focused on making our stories social and interactive. By making our stories social we literally mean putting the stories out there and let people socialize with them, we let the audience turn them into watercooler conversations, only the watercoolers have gone digital and have taken the forms of various social media platforms. By “interactive” we mean when readers can interact with the story, either click on links or comment on a story etc. thereby spending more time on our website.
Eric Mayville, the founder of Wondersauce, a digital agency, who was speaking at the Schuneman Symposium, emphasized the importance of interactivity. He mentioned the project that they did for the HBO series Game of Thrones, where they created an interactive map of Westoros and the family tree for the seven houses of this saga. If successful shows such as the Game of Thrones, who have a very dedicated audience are still spending money and commissioning projects that would enhance interactivity, this is definitely trend we should all follow.