Blog post 1: How Ebola Roared Back

The multimedia story I chose to critique is “How Ebola Roared Back”  by the New York Times on Dec. 29, 2014.

How Ebola Roared Back - NYTimes.com (2)

This multimedia story combines texts with photos, videos and infographics to show the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa last year. It’s a good story for readers to understand why and how Ebola roared back and get to know some missing details during that process.

The story site as a whole is well organized and neat. There are no distractions like advertisements. Readers can focus only on the useful content there. So the overall user experience is good. However, the only problem is about navigation. This story is of considerable length and is divided into several sections, but there is no main navigation bar. Readers can only scroll all the way down to certain content they want to read. It’s hard for them to locate or relocate and it is inconvenient. With out navigation, it will not give readers a general idea about the content or the structure of this story.

In this story, videos, photos and infographics are used to assist telling the story besides texts. The infographics tell mainly about the geography information of the affected counties. Others also show the development of Ebola cases during a certain time period. Compared to numbers and texts, they are easier to understand. Photos can show the real situation and environment in West Africa more vividly. After reading so many words, those photos can also help readers take a break and then move on to the next part. Videos about interviews with related people give more detailed background information to readers. In general, the usage of multimedia in this site is balanced and accurate.

Everything in this site is about Ebola, so from the very beginning, readers know exactly what they are reading. All the videos, photos and infographics contain explanatory notes to tell readers what they are about. Readers will not lose the topic.

About designing, this site is not fancy, but simple and decent. Without complex color combinations or typography, it’s coherent with its content – a serious news story about Ebola. But, I think the site is still too static. More interactive elements are needed to make this site more attractive.

Overall, I think this is a good multimedia journalism work.

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About Zhou Hang

Graduate student of Missouri School of Journalism. Enterprise reporter for the Columbia Missourian. Interested in movie, music, cycling, tennis and jogging.

One thought on “Blog post 1: How Ebola Roared Back

  1. I think this is also a really good timely multimedia piece.

    I agree with your concerns about the navigation. Since it is so long, it would be easy if they could break it up more into digestible parts, kind of like subheads in a newspaper or magazine. This is only a minor setback I think, a lot of people will continue all the way through but they’ll just have to relocate certain parts, like you said.

    The photos, videos and infographics definitely aided in the story-telling. I really liked the small infographic “glossary” that included the organizations mentioned in the story. I think this would be helpful for people who may not be really familiar with all the ones mentioned.

    I think this is a nice, comprehensive piece on Ebola that was well designed, has a lot of information and focuses on the topic.

    Liked by 1 person

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