Web Documentary Planning

Enter page: the enter page will just be a simple enter arrow at the bottom of the screen. When the user clicks on the button, the curtains of the theatre stage in the background will open, so the audience feels like they are delving deeper into theatre.

Home page: for my home page, I will have the same animated theatre stage as the background. The sections of the documentary will then pop up; for example, the playwrights, the plays, the audience’s thoughts, etc. Each of these will be represented by an animated image. E.g. playwright section = quill, plays = comedy/tragedy masks, audience reviews = audience silhouettes, etc. As well as this, the page will have a brief description of the documentary for the viewers to read.

Playwright section: each playwright will be featured on with an image, a rolling text box will be at the bottom of the page for the audience to read; whilst the viewers can read the information about the playwrights, they can scroll across the writer’s images and a reading of one of their works will play in the background. The user can control whether they want it to play by using the mute/unmute button in the bottom right corner of the page. The individual playwrights pages will give a more detailed understanding of the writers; a video slideshow of past work can be selected to watch, and an interview with the playwright can also be viewed. During the interview video, points will be highlighted so the user can click on the star and read more about the certain topic.

The play page will be similar, except short trailers of the plays will be able to be viewed instead. When the user selects a video, it will fill the screen; if the audience just wants to listen to the trailer, they can minimise the videos. When the videos have been minimised, information relating to the play they have selected will pop up for the user to read.

Audience reviews: in this section, a video slideshow of interviews with audience members will be shown. Questions and answers relating to the plays involved in Heads Up Festival. Like the individual playwright’s pages, they’ll be points in the videos when stars pop up for the user to select. They can read more about the topic of discussion.

This is a brief written plan of what my web documentary will include. I will research more into web documentaries on the Klynt website as I feel the immersive experiences on this platform are effective and can give me more inspiration for my own web documentary. I will then sketch out this plan for a visual representation.

Web Documentaries

In this semester, we have been introduced to a new web documentary host site called Klynt. I have spent some time looking through example immersive sites that have been built using Klynt, including “Les Voyageurs” and “Athens: A Greek Tragedy”

“Les Voyageurs” screenshots:

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“Athens: A Greek Tragedy” screenshots:
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20140326-195944.jpgAnother Klynt immersive web documentary I looked at was “2300 Miles of America” which I found to be very effective via the use of images and voiceover. This gave me inspiration for my web documentary to use voiceover in my play & playwright sections. As well as this, I also took some inspiration from “Les Voyageurs” as each part of that web documentary has its own section and its own story. My sections will all relate to one another, and will be about Heads Up Festival, but they will have their own part of the immersive experience.

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Web Documentary News Story

For my interactive web documentary for Creative Futures semester 2, I have selected a news story that would fall in the category of Hull 2017 and the City of Culture; this would be Heads Up Festival, which is a theatre and performance festival celebrating local theatre company Ensemble 52’s plays. As this brings culture to our city, I will use this opportunity to film and photograph the event, which will take place between March 19th and April 5th, 2014.

3 Ways of Presenting Online

1. YouTube
YouTube is a great platform for people to get out information via video. Not only can television broadcasters upload programmes to the online site, all types of events can live stream talks via YouTube, like TEDTalks for example. TEDTalks uploads lectures from professors, academics and other public figures about important topics. This is so that people who cannot attend these types of events can still watch them over the Internet.

2. Podcasting
Unlike video presenting, podcasting just uses the voice recording. Much like radio broadcasting, podcasts can be downloaded over iTunes, or event straight of the Internet to be saved to your computer or device. If an audience does not want to purchase the podcast however, they can just listen to it over the Internet instead.

3. Vlogging
Unlike uploading lectures to YouTube, vlogging is specifically geared to an audience over the Internet. The presenter talks directly to the camera (or directly to their online audience). Vlogging has become significantly more popular in the last three years or so, with YouTube personalities such as John Green, Grace Helbig and Tyler Oakley uploading videos regularly, geared toward their online audience.

How is the Free Press Threatened by the Royal Charter?

In this essay, I will discuss the implications of the Royal Charter on the free press and the affect this has and will have on newspaper publications in the future. I shall also talk about the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), and the Editors Code of Practice. Since the Royal Charter has been proposed, publications across the United Kingdom have been wary of the repercussions that will face them once the Royal Charter becomes effective.

The most essential part of the keeping the press in line is the Press Complaints Commission. Protecting the rights of individuals in the media whilst also preserving the rights of expression for the press, the PCC serve the public, and hold the newspaper editors to account. The Leveson Inquiry, set up by David Cameron in July 2011 following the revelations of phone-hacking by the News of the World, meant that regulation of the press was firmly thrust into the spotlight. Lord Justice Leveson led the public inquiry by considering the culture and ethics of the press. Leveson has stated, “I do not believe that the independent self-regulatory regime that I proposed in any sense impacts the freedom of the press to publish what it wants.”[1]

Journalists have a duty to report about the topics the general public is most interested in; if the newspapers violate their news sources, for instance, they report about a public figure when an injunction has been ordered; they name a defendant in a court proceeding when they cannot legally be named; or reporters hack into telephone messages for information, they are breaking the law and are in breach of the Editors Code of Practice. In future, to make sure nothing of a sort happens again, the Royal Charter will act as a restrictive barrier.

However, journalists who take advantage of their role in the media not only ruin trust in the profession, but can also ruin lives, harm reputations and affect the relationships of those involved. Mick Hume, author of There is No Such Thing as a Free Press argued that, “Far from needing more regulation and regimentation, what the press needs is greater freedom and openness. And to show how, while everybody pays lip service to the importance of press freedom, in the real world it is being muffled under a choke-hold of conformism.”[2] This could be because Hume was a journalist for several newspapers and magazines, and he thinks that the press should not buckle under the threat of political traditionalism.

On the other hand, the Press Complaints Commission has to oblige to the general public, making sure that the information that the newspaper publications publish is not offensive or unlawful. The campaign leaders for tighter press regulation, Hacked Off, have said, “News publishers now have a great opportunity to join a scheme that will not only give the public better protection from press abuses but will also uphold freedom of expression, protect investigative journalism and benefit papers financially.”[3]

This Royal Charter will manage a secondary, independent self-regulatory group, which have been set up by the publications that would like to join, along with the Press Complaints Commission. The PCC has attracted a lot of criticism in the aftermath of the phone-hacking scandal and its failings to investigate in other areas of reporting in the press. As a result, the Royal Charter offered by Leveson means that a fully-functioning, effective regulatory body will monitor the press in order to avoid any damaging information being reported about in future.

Chris Huhne, a former MP for the Liberal Democrats, has said that the uproar from newspapers is a little premature, in a sense that what they believe the Royal Charter will do is not necessarily what will happen. For instance, Huhne wrote for The Guardian’s website, “The Royal Charter does not establish any regulation of the press: it will set up a body to certify that any self-regulator created by newspapers is independent. There is no question of any pre-publication censorship: all complaints to any self-regulatory panel will be investigated after the event, in the same way as with the existing Press Complaints Commission.”[4]

In the instigation of the Privy Council approved Royal Charter, the Press Complaints Commission will be replaced by a new regulator, having more power than the PCC. This will include a watchdog to make sure that said regulator remains independent. The self-regulatory systems will be set up by the newspaper publications that choose to join with the Royal Charter. In addition to this, a similar arrangement to the Press Complaints Commission, there will be a panel of board members, with the majority of non-journalists being a part of it. It has also been stated that, “Crucially, there would be no serving editors on the board. In contrast, seven out of the PCC’s 17 commissioners are serving editors.”[5][6]

The BBC News website also identified that the regulator of the Royal Charter would have a standards code, “It would be advised by a code committee on which serving editors have ‘an important part to play’ but not a decisive one. The code must protect freedom of speech. It would cover how journalists behave in getting hold of information, their respect for privacy when there’s no public interest justification, and accuracy.” The regulatory system that will go into effect will be able to fine the publications that break the Editors Code of Practice, unlike the PCC, which do not have penalties if a code has been violated.[5]

The Chartered Institute of Journalism claim that the publishers who resist from joining the Royal Charter are being coerced by the threat of exemplary claims damages. The Institute went on to state, “For the courts to punish a defendant for choosing not to do something that the law does not require him to do offends profoundly against a basic principle of English law and tenets of natural justice.” A threat that the members of the Chartered Institute of Journalism feel is blackmail against them if they refuse to let the Royal Charter take effect against their newspapers.[7]

In conclusion, the Royal Charter does not threaten the free press as much as the newspapers let on. The Leveson Inquiry investigated the regulatory systems that the press has, and concluded that these bodies are not efficient enough for the protection of information, thus creating this Royal Charter, which will monitor the newspapers and make sure that the PCC is acting correctly when faced with a press complaint. The freedom of the press will not be compromised because of the Royal Charter; if a newspaper wishes to set up a self-regulatory body independently of the PCC, it will fall under the jurisdiction of the Royal Charter.

However, newspapers are not happy about this as the editor’s feel that their freedom of expression is being restricted. As the Royal Charter is an opt-in structure, most newspaper editors and journalists have decided to boycott this as their main viewpoint is that press freedom is not theirs to give away, and should not be decided on by politicians. In addition, the press feels that the threat of Royal Charter has been to blackmail the newspaper publications to sign up to the new regulator, or be punished “by [using] provisions that [will] lead to large legal bills for claims [that] would discourage journalists and their employers from engaging ‘in a proper scrutiny of public affairs’.” Members of the Chartered Institute of Journalism consider this as prohibited in English law.[7]

The two opposing sides: Members of Parliament, the Privy Council and press regulation campaign leaders, against the journalists, tabloids and newspaper publications, have very differing views on what the Royal Charter means for the free press. Whatever the MPs say about this regulatory system is little comfort for the editors and publishers, as they are feeling the force and intimidation of the Royal Charter against the future of their newspapers and the openness and freedom in which they have to report.

References

[1] Lucy Britt. (2013). Royal Charter for Press Regulation – The End of a Free Press?. Available: http://www.journalism-now.co.uk/royal-charter-press-regulation-end-free-press/. Last accessed 28th Dec 2013.

[2] Mick Hume (2012). There is No Such Thing as a Free Press. Exeter: Imprint Academic.

[3] BBC. (2013). Press Regulation: Privy Council Grants Royal Charter. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24746137. Last accessed 28th Dec 2013.

[4] Chris Huhne. (2013). What’s All The Fuss About The Royal Charter Meaning The End of Press Freedom?. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/03/press-self-regulation-leveson-censorship. Last accessed 2nd Jan 2014.

[5] Tom de Castella. (2013). Press Regulation: The 10 Major Questions. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24710506. Last accessed 2nd Jan 2014.

[6] Ian Burrell. (2013). Press Regulation: Judge for Yourself – The Royal Charter in Full. Available: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/press-regulation-judge-for-yourself–the-royal-charter-in-full-8910572.html. Last accessed 4th Jan 2014.

[7] Gavriel Hollander. (2013). CIoJ Rejects Both Royal Charters as ‘Coercive’ and Threatening to Investigative Journalism. Available: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/cioj-rejects-both-royal-charters-coercive-and-threatening-investigative-journalism. Last accessed 4th Jan 2014.

PDF of essay: How Does the Royal Charter Threaten the Free Press

Research- Immersive Advertisements: Storytelling

Television advertisements can also be examples of immersive experiences for the audience. This has recently become a big trend for TV, as John Lewis’ Christmas commercial became extremely popular with viewers, so much so that it received a lot of buzz from social networking sites, and garnered 11.5 million views on YouTube.

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This is extremely effective advertising, but it has been around for much longer. John Lewis has done the storytelling commercial before, with ‘The Snowman’s Journey’. Storytelling through advertisement means that the audience can connect with what they are viewing. They can follow a linear tale, following the characters as they journey through the story.

This type of engagement means that the commercial has the viewer’s attention throughout the whole story. Immersive storytelling of the John Lewis kind has a beginning, middle, and end within the space of an average television advertisement slot. The latest John Lewis story, titled ‘The Bear & the Hare’, featured a popular acoustic version of a famous song ‘Somewhere Only We Know’, which was covered by an equally famous recording artist, Lily Allen. Not only did this aid with the popularity of the advert, it fit well with the story being told in the commercial, and in no way did it detract from the tale.

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‘The Snowman’s Journey’ was John Lewis’ story advert for Christmas 2012. It was equally as popular with the audience as ‘The Bear & the Hare’ as the story of the snowman was heart-warming, and featured a cover of ‘The Power of Love’ by Gabrielle Aplin. The attention from television viewers helped catapult Aplin into mainstream attention, which shows how effective music and storytelling can be in TV advertisements.

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Throughout the years of John Lewis’ commercial broadcasts, storytelling wasn’t always used. Before Winter 2011, the company hadn’t used any means of this type of advertising in its marketing; but since the success of its first ever storytelling advert, ‘The Long Wait’, which broadcast over the Christmas period, they have used this effective way for their television target market. ‘The Long Wait’, about a young boy having to wait to give his Christmas gifts, was incredibly popular when it first aired in the UK, and reached 1 million views quickly after. This shows the efficacy of storytelling in the media. Since garnering considerable public attention for advertising in such a way, John Lewis has produced more commercials in this way, more prominently, for its Christmas season, and each year the company pleases its intended audience.

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Prior to storytelling, companies did not receive much talk or media attention (unless their television advertisements were controversial or just plain weird); nowadays, with the likes of the Go Compare and Compare the Market adverts, which follow the same characters in each commercial, social networking sites are the places to go to get the feedback of the adverts that air on our TVs.

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The Compare the Market/Compare the Meerkat adverts particularly show the capability and effectiveness of storytelling and connecting with the audience. Not only has this company followed the characters of Aleksandr and Sergei throughout the ads, Compare the Market have used the popularity of the commercial to branch out into other marketing opportunities, which includes the selling of meerkat plush toys. In the latest addition to the advertisements, Sergei and Aleksandr adopted a meerkat baby, named Oleg. As well as the adverts following the story of these meerkat characters, the website, comparethemeerkat.com, has a blog, supposedly written by these characters, which gives the audience a personal connection to Sergei and Aleksandr, as if they are real.

BTRetail

BT (British Telecom) has a different angle of advertisement storytelling; following in the footsteps of the 12 Nescafe Gold Blend adverts (1987-1993), with the infamous ‘Gold Blend couple’ (starring ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘Merlin’ actor Anthony Head). Each advert is part of a series, involving the same characters throughout.

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This started in 2005, with the BT Retail adverts (starring Kris Marshall, known for his role in My Family). As well as telling an on-going story, it also incorporated viewer participation, where the audience could decide the fate of the characters in the commercials. In 2010, BT received 1.6 million votes from the British public in a ‘what happens next?’ ballot. The series ran for roughly 40 adverts before it eventually spanned on to the BT Infinity adverts, which began starring the BT Retail son and his friends as he moved to study at university. The premise is very clever, as the audience becomes attached to the characters as they follow them through their lives, almost like they are checking up on old friends every time a new commercial in the series is released.

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The future of storytelling

A study has found that an audience nowadays would like to encounter stories in new ways. Latd.com researched this, which resulted in the following findings: participants of the study want four elements included in the future of storytelling. They are: immersion, interactivity, integration, and impact. With immersive websites, advertisements, videos, and documentaries, the criteria found is already being met, although not on a large scale. These types of storytelling (like the ones found above) are few and far between in the media right now, but in the future predictions have been made that this inventive way of narrative storytelling will make a greater impact, and grow in popularity.

Latd.com said, “By analysing our participants’ responses and the storytelling concepts they generated, we were able to uncover four elements – the “4 I’s” – that will continue to play a significant role in our experiences with narrative-based media. Immersion and interactivity primarily help an audience to go deeper into a story, while integration and impact are about bringing a story of out of the screen, into our actual lives.”

Below are some of the key findings of Latd.com’s study:

• The real world is a platform, too. When asked to develop a new way of interacting with stories, 52% of participants treated the real world as another “platform,” incorporating networked real-world objects, augmented reality, 3D projected environments, and other technologies that bridge the divide between digital and physical.

• Audiences crave more control. Seventy-nine percent suggested interactions that would allow them to alter a storyline by influencing a character’s decisions or by becoming a character themselves.

• Traditional notions of authorship are changing. The real-time, connected culture of the Web is converting storytelling to a more participatory art; 93% of participants expressed interest in submitting possible story ideas to producers, and a whopping 2/3 said they’d be willing to help fund stories they’re interested in (e.g., on a platform like Kickstarter).