Journalists and documentary filmmakers tell stories grounded in the social-historical world. As we take traditional storytelling methods online, things change. What works in print or in a linear documentary is not necessarily what works online. New tools provide journalists and documentary filmmakers the opportunity to tell stories in new ways. Below are some of the best examples of these works to date. Each project represents an approach expanding our storytelling tool kit.

This is an evolving list. Please let us know if there’s a project you think should be on this list via email to d.tames@neu.edu

The Short List

  • Snow Fall (John Branch, The New York Times, 2012), one of the most talked about examples of long-form online journalism bringing together words, images, data visualization, and video to present a more immersive story to viewers.
  • Hollow (Elaine McMillion Sheldon, 2013), a project that began as a linear documentary morphed into an exemplary interactive documentary with compelling storytelling.
  • Bear 71 (Leanne Allison and Jeremy Mendes, NFB/Interactive, 2012), brings together video storytelling and data visualization to tell the story of a grizzly bear in Banff National Park and the effects of human settlements in her life through narration, video from trail cameras, and an interactive map
  • Highrise: Out My Window (Katerina Cizek, NFB/Interactive)
  • Highrise: One Millionth Tower (Katerina Cizek, NFB/Interactive), walks a tightrope between two modalities: the cinematic and the interactive
  • Welcome to Pine Point (Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge, NFB/Interactive, 2011), collectively known as The Goggles, Michael Simons and Paul Shoebridge, formerly creative directors of Adbusters magazine, explore the social history of Pine Point, a former mining community in the Canadian Northwest Territories, offering a lyrical perspective on how we remember the past.
  • A Journal of Insomnia, French title: Journal d’une insomnie collective, (Bruno Choiniere, Philippe Lambert, Thibaut Duverneix and Guillaume Braun, NFB, 2013), to visit this site you must first register online for an appointment, after you receive a phone call informing you that you’ve been emailed a link to the site, once you log in, you can follow the stories of one of four protagonists who share their own experiences with insomina as well as access contributions from other insomniacs that the site has been collecting collected since the project was initiated.
  • Main Street (Danny Singer, NFB/Interactive), brings together photography, navigation, market news, and music to examine the relationship between “Wall Street” and “Main Street”
  • Riding the New Silk Road (The New York Times, 2013)
  • Prison Valley (David Dufresne and Phillipe Brault, ARTE, 2010), brings together game, exploration elements integrated with a linear video and ability for audience to communicate with subjects of the documentary, the community is no longer as active as when it was first released, so it’s become an example of an online ghost town.
  • Journey to the End of Coal (Samuel Bollendorff & Abel Ségrétin, Honkeytonk, 2008)
  • Gaza/Serdot: life in spite of everything (Susanna Lotz, Joël Ronez, Alex Szalat, ARTE, 2008), profiles six residents of the Palestinian city of Gaza and the Israeli village of Sderot, the interface visually presents both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, each section of the work is divided, presenting information for Gaza and Sderot separately, underscoring the conflict.

Additional Projects

Data Visualizations

  • Visualization of Narrative Structure (Natalia Bilenko and Asako Miyazawa), isualizes character interactions and relative emotional content for three very different books: The Hobbit, The Glass Menagerie, and Kafka on the Shore
  • Out of sight, out of mind (Pitch Interactive) documents drone strikes in Pakistan
  • Losing Ground, Louisiana’s disappearing coasts (ProPublica, 2014)
  • A transition like no other (The Boston Globe, 2016-2017) is a striking interactive graphic of the Trump transition with an entry for every day between the election and the inauguration. Each box has a thumbnail of the day’s major news and a link to the longer story. Most are accompanied by a tweet from Trump himself.