Thursday, April 17, 2008
Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
With slideshows proliferating on news sites, I added them to my editing class this year.

This semester, students used Soundslides Plus to put together a slideshow about a recent news event. I gave them 10 images and a wire story about a tornado hitting Atlanta. I asked the students to choose the best six photos and to put them in an order that made sense to tell a story. The students used the cutline information from each Associated Press photo and tapped into the wire story to bridge gaps in the larger story.

The students seemed to enjoy this assignment, and it was interesting to see what photo sequences they came up with. They found it challenging to turn the images and words into a larger story. They were also surprised how much editing the AP cutlines needed.

To get ready for this assignment, we looked at several well-done slideshows from The Washington Post and other sites. I also wanted to show one that didn't work so well. Too bad this one from Yahoo! came along too late in the semester. It wanders from the Northwest-Delta merger to Gloria Allred in seven slides.

For some tips about slideshows, check out this batch of posts from Mindy McAdams, who teaches at the University of Florida and blogs at Teaching Online Journalism.

UPDATE: My colleague Ryan Thornburg offers this possible explanation for the Yahoo slideshow: Photo galleries like this are created by a computer, based on keyword. In this case, "TSA" was the keyword. Thus, the shot of a mannequin wearing a nipple ring. Humans set up the keywords that create the galleries, and humans have the ability to re-order the photos once the gallery is generated.
posted by Andy Bechtel at 1:17 PM | Permalink |


  • At 1:31 PM, Blogger kathleen

    Oh, that Yahoo slide show is really dreadful! Thanks for sharing.

    I have become a big fan of slide shows and am glad to hear you are teaching them in your class. They are a great way to get good photos out there that there otherwise isn't room for. They also offer a particularly intimate way of telling a story.

  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger Ninja Of The Mundane

    This is killing me ... what's that subject-line lyric from?????

    Jim Thomsen

  • At 8:12 PM, Blogger Andy Bechtel

    "The Future" by Leonard Cohen.

  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger Ninja Of The Mundane

    I KNEW THAT! I hate getting old. Love the girl chorus in that song.

    When they said "repent" ... I wonder what they meant.

    Jim Thomsen

  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger rknil

    "They were also surprised how much editing the AP cutlines needed."

    Yet another issue that today's newsroom managers fail to resolve. There's no greater joy than working on a "copy desk" where the "copy editors" just flow in the AP cutlines unedited.