Cyber Tydings


October 2015

Feature Analysis

I chose to analyze two nautically-themed feature pieces that I feel exemplify effective multimedia use, albeit in very different ways.

Chasing Bayla was published in the Boston Globe and is a Pulitzer Prize winning article written by Sarah Schweitzer. It provided information on the main subject, Michael Moore, and the whale he was trying to save, Bayla. The article is long-form and in-depth with subtle, incorporated multimedia. Animated cartoon pictures accompany the story, but the animations are subtle and the overall effect is thoughtful, not tacky. It adds interest to the story and helps to keep the reader engaged despite the length of the story.  I felt as though the unique use of multimedia added to the story and made the article stand out and I would like to incorporate something similar into my own feature story. Although the article was long, it was engaging and forged an emotional connection with readers which is an important element of feature stories.

A Game of Shark and Minnow by Jeff Himmelman is accompanied by photographs and video by Ashley Gilbertson. The story appeared in The New York Times on 27 October 2015. This article used multimedia in a less subtle way than Chasing Bayla. As the reader scrolls through the article, some sections are video and others are animated infographics complete with sound. Although it was difficult to navigate at first, once I became accustom to the multimedia, I began to appreciate it more. The videos made the article seem more interactive and the infographics were clean, organized and added to the article as opposed to merely regurgitating information. The text-only portion of the article is interspersed throughout different sections of multimedia. Overall, it is an interesting and unique use of multimedia that I have not seen in all other journalism.

I do not think that I have the technical skills to create this type of multimedia in my own stories, but I can clearly see that video, images and some audio, adds depth to feature stories. When executed tactfully, multimedia keeps the reader engaged and adds impact to the message that the article is conveying.


Bloomsburg hosts 160th annual Bloomsburg Fair

BLOOMSBURG, Pa.- On Oct. 26, the bucolic town of Bloomsburg welcomes an annual excitement, the Bloomsburg Fair. The fair has been going on for 160 years. According to the Bloomsburg Fair website, this year it drew 363,977 patrons from Columbia County and all over the world to partake in fried foods, rides, live music and other attractions. It is a significant source of revenue for Bloomsburg.

Although the clientele is diverse, reasons for going to the fair seem to be the same. “I go [to the fair] to eat as much unhealthy food as my wallet will allow me and also to people watch,” says Jess Quesenberry, a Bloomsburg University student who has gone to the fair multiple times over the past three years. Quesenberry explains that every year, she gets a chocolate peanut butter milkshake, onion rings and fried Oreos.

Another fairgoer told reporters “I pretty much went for the food.” Tom Moser, a Bloomsburg student who resides locally in Natalie, PA, has been going to the fair since he was a child. He states, “I like to experience the different types of food and experience the different ways people act.”

This liminal space gives rise to some atypical sights and behaviors; a snake lady and the world’s largest rat share space with kids trying to win giant stuffed toys and couples kissing on the sky ride.

Although this year’s weather forecast was less than ideal, the rain has not dampened the spirits of fairgoers. When asked if the weather had changed her fair experience, one woman continued to dance furiously to live music, saying “Dance in the rain!”

In an interview with Dom Ferraro, a fair goer who hails from Philadelphia, PA, Ferraro explains that despite the rainy weather this year, he still attended the fair with his friends. His interview is available here:

For those who missed out on this year’s fair or had hoped for more temperate weather, next year’s fair week begins the third Saturday after Labor Day.

Tom Moser and Jess Quesenberry sit on a bench eating fair fare
Tom Moser and Jess Quesenberry enjoy fried Oreos at the fair

More information about the Bloomsburg Fair:

Oral Histories from the Bloomsburg Fair

Bloomsburg Fair website

Video feed of fairgrounds

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