About C291

Digital Storytelling C291 at DePauw University focuses on the dynamics of non-fiction storytelling through the use of traditional story framing constructs used by digital journalists.

Strong emphasis is placed on story development, narrative techniques and how to collect factual information that can then be used to create and publish non-fiction stories on a Web platform.

This journalism course covers theory and best practices governing website architecture, web traffic generation, search engine optimization and includes discussion of ethical and legal standards governing Web content generation. Prerequisites: Sophomore or above standing.

Multimedia Storytelling student Tyler Benware edits video at the DePauw University's Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media.
Multimedia Storytelling student Tyler Benware edits video

Telling Digital Stories

This course is aimed at giving you the tools you will need to shoot, edit and produce multimedia stories. Students will also learn how to set up, develop and maintain a hosted Web page using a popular blogging platform. Many of you have probably already established and written blogs, but this class will take your skills to another level. The Web page you create is the foundation from which we will build. You will add video, audio and words as the semester progresses. By the time you exit this class, you will have an Internet portfolio that you will be able to use when seeking jobs in communications, film, pubic relations, arts, TV production and journalism. Many of the graduates of this class are now aspiring videographers whose work can be viewed on a Vimeo page established to showcase their work at DePauw.

A major goal behind this course is to get you to think differently about the Web and multimedia content. We have all viewed the funny, sophomoric videos loaded onto YouTube. These videos are not hard to produce. With an inexpensive camera and a limited amount of effort, most people can shoot and upload an entertaining video. But something is usually missing, namely a story. There is no character development, no plot and you are often left searching for the point.

Whether you work for a corporation, a non-profit or become the next documentary film maker, the challenge is the same: How do I tell a great story? What elements do I need to assemble?

The goal here is to go beyond the technical, geek side of multimedia and learn how to create a compelling non-fiction narrative. The technical skills taught in this course will provide a foundation for accomplishing our larger goal. To meet this goal, you will need to learn how to do some journalistic-style reporting.

Why? Reporting, or collecting information, is the essence of developing a narrative. Without it, you will not be able to produce a good finished story. It doesn’t matter how good you are at slicing and dicing video. If you have collected garbage, your video project will be a pile of mush. Many videographers don’t do the reporting because it is hard work.

Good finished stories depend on two things: good organization and great research. The best storytellers are journalists practicing journalism. They know their topics backwards and forwards because they have painstakingly researched the subject.

Technology is an enabler. It is never the story. It only allows you to create what you would have otherwise created in a different format. Covering up a bad plot with glitzy action scenes or clever camera angles doesn’t improve a weak story line.

This course is designed to lay the foundation for a new way to report stories as a journalist and a non-fiction storyteller. As a multimedia student, you will learn the latest techniques and technology, picking up tips on how to write Web stories and produce and edit video for a Web environment.

But there is more to this class than just acquiring skills. We will discuss how the new digital technology has caused a major disruption in traditional information industries – offering new opportunities for content creation by using a low cost delivery system called the Internet. Hopefully, you will leave C291 thinking differently about the digital landscape and the future of non-fiction storytelling. The field is bright, but we must first learn how to become awesome storytellers.