Journalism: Graphic Novel Style

The field of journalism is always expanding, looking for new and creative ways to spread information and ideas.  With the aide of the Internet, these advancements seem to spring up almost daily.  As a college senior pursuing a career in journalism, I have a specific interest in these advancements.  I’m intrigued by the prospect of new media, especially since it is growing so quickly in popularity.  Although some critics believe the real-time and unregulated content damages new media’s overall credibility, but it also causes sources to be very competitive through innovation.

Picture 28In the Graphic Novel class I’m studying a genre that I never really knew existed.  I had heard of graphic novels, and I might have even read one for a summer reading assignment in middle school; I don’t remember.  But it wasn’t until I took this class that I realized the narrative advantages that comics/graphic novels have over other forms of literature.  I find graphic novels to be intriguing, but as an aspiring journalist, I don’t know how I’d incorporate what I’ve learned in this class to my line of work.  Matt Madden’s “99 Ways to Tell a Story” goes beyond comics, as it provides innovative advice that can be interpreted generally to any type of writing that requires a degree of storytelling—even journalism.

A recent news report, however, leads me to believe that the field of journalism has plenty of room for graphic novel-type content—and not just in the comic strip section of the newspaper.  CBC News of Saskatchewan, Canada ran an online article titled, “Thunder in the rotunda: the graphic novel,” which proved that the news source is definitely on board with new media, dedicated to staying on the cutting edge.  Kevin O’Connor, CBC web writer, and Andre Mougeot creator of the article, told the story of the media reaction to his province’s recent state budget release, utilizing a graphic novel theme to perfection.

The “interactive,” as O’Connor calls it, looks like a small video player of some sort.  When the reader clicks play, dramatic superhero music plays and a tacky comic-style title appear on the screen (both presumably poking fun at the graphic novel theme).  As the music loops, the reader clicks an arrow to take him or her through the story; by clicking, the reader initiates an animation that imitates a page turning.  The artwork looks like photographs under a heavy Photoshop comic book effect, but it gets the point across.  Those quoted in the article appear in cartoon form, below a hovering speech bubble containing their comment on the budget cuts.  O’Connor adds simple narrative, which is boxed in, when necessary.

The final product is an extremely engaging form of new media.  The reader sees more artwork than standard articles normally possess, keeping him or her visually stimulated.  The speech bubbles frame the crux of every article—the expert testimonials.  The quotations are extremely important to the article, and the graphic novel approach allows the reader to put a face (although cartoony) to the words.  By clicking to “turn the page,” readers remain physically engaged, too.  I could see this style of journalism really taking off in sports writing, a field in which I am particularly interested.

  1 comment for “Journalism: Graphic Novel Style

  1. April 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    This Thunder in the Rotundy thing is kind of cool, and as you point out, it’s really an example of a digital multimedia text. It does kind of use the comic aspect as a gimmick, rather than truly exploring the form, but it’s something different.

    For a more articulate expression of journalistic communication employing a comic modality, I can recommend Joe Sacco’s work, particularly Palestine and Safe Area Gorazde.

Comments are closed.