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Home » Focus, Headline

MediaStorm: An innovative new media

Submitted by on December 15, 2011 – 17:37No Comment

Brief overview of the state of play of the media sec­tor in USA

The US has been in many cases the pio­neer on new tech­nolo­gies devel­op­ment and inno­v­a­tive media ini­tia­tives in the era where Inter­net makes pos­si­ble new paths of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and inter­ac­tion. That is why it does not seem strange that Medi­aS­torm was born in one of the most pres­ti­gious cen­tres of jour­nal­ism in the US: Uni­ver­sity of Mis­souri School of Jour­nal­ism.

Google, Face­book, Apple or Twit­ter are all names that nowa­days have monop­o­lize our lifestyle. They all came from Amer­i­can projects that have changed the view and approach of social media all around the world. We live in a dig­i­tal rev­o­lu­tion where updat­ing one­self is a must. New tech­nolo­gies as well as new ways of com­mu­ni­cat­ing force peo­ple to find inno­v­a­tive busi­ness mod­els. How­ever, this does not change the con­flicts, dilem­mas and suf­fer­ing of the humankind.

There­fore, is in this frame­work where Medi­aS­torm came out to the light. The main goal is to raise con­sci­en­tious­ness among peo­ple with regard to social issues by using the lat­est tech­nolo­gies of suc­cess­ful mul­ti­me­dia sto­ry­telling. No mat­ter “where or when”, the point is “what and how”.

What is Medi­aS­torm?

Medi­aS­torm is a mul­ti­me­dia jour­nal­ism web­site founded in 2005 in New York City. Based in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neigh­bor­hood, the web­site is spon­sored by The Wash­ing­ton Post and work on live-action and photo-audio-driven projects.

It is a media for all of those who are inter­ested in see­ing the lat­est in mul­ti­me­dia tech­niques as well as those who enjoy doc­u­men­taries and are con­cerned about the major prob­lems that humankind face in these days.

The author of this project is Brian Storm, a Mag­num pho­tog­ra­pher, for­mer direc­tor of mul­ti­me­dia at and a for­mer vice pres­i­dent of News, Mul­ti­me­dia & Assign­ment Ser­vices for Cor­bis. The adven­ture of Medi­aS­torm started when its founder real­ized that new tech­nolo­gies were inevitably push­ing Medias to dis­cover new mod­els of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. In words of B. Storm: “I had seen a lot of great projects and I felt like I had devel­oped a model for financ­ing and pro­duc­ing and cre­at­ing them. And I felt com­pletely empow­ered because of pro­duc­tion tools because the way the medium has matured”.

Nowa­days, Medi­aS­torm is described as part of the next gen­er­a­tion of mul­ti­me­dia sto­ry­telling. It is one step for­ward on the media land­scape that show­cases in-depth fea­ture sto­ries with an empha­sis on pho­to­jour­nal­ism and social com­men­tary. It is a sort of forum for social doc­u­men­taries that use pho­to­jour­nal­ism, inter­ac­tiv­ity, ani­ma­tion, audio and video. As they set up on the web­site, the main goal is “to cre­ate cin­e­matic nar­ra­tives that speak to the heart of the human con­di­tion”.

At the moment, there are thirty projects pub­lished online. They include: Animation, documentaries, fic­tion, fine art and por­trai­ture. Everypro­jects offer and inno­v­a­tive rev­enue stream. There are dif­fer­ent options to check out the tabs of the sto­ries concerning: transcripts, related links to the sources and a space for feedback.

From its ori­gin until now, Medi­aS­torm has col­lected prizes and acco­lades. In 2008, it won an Emmy with the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions for Cri­sis Guide: Dar­fur, two Webby Awards and Best Use of Mul­ti­me­dia in the Pic­tures of the Year Con­test. In 2007, Medi­aS­torm won an Emmy for Kingsley’s Cross­ing by Olivier Jobard, took first place in both the Best of Pho­to­jour­nal­ism Con­test and Pic­tures of the Year, and won the Webby Award for the Mag­a­zine category.

Prizes mean high-quality pro­fes­sion­als work­ing on the projects. Jour­nal­ists at Medi­aS­torm come from a wide range of pro­fes­sional back­grounds: pho­tog­ra­phy, TV, design, jour­nal­ism and infor­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy. They also work as train­ers in dif­fer­ent uni­ver­si­ties lec­tur­ing and teach­ing about mul­ti­me­dia sto­ry­telling as well as strate­gies for cre­at­ing suc­cess­ful busi­ness mod­els in the dig­i­tal age. Fur­ther­more, some projects are made by inde­pen­dent artist or in con­junc­tion with other media.

But one may won­der how Medi­aS­torm can stay alive finan­cially with only twelve employ­ees pro­duc­ing pieces at such a high qual­ity level. The head of this media, Brian Storm states that You cash in on your rela­tion­ships and you go build really high-end stuff for big name brands. So the main pur­poses to sur­vive eco­nom­i­cally are agree­ments with other big com­pa­nies which required ser­vices that Main­Stream offers: con­sult­ing or deploy­ing tech­nol­ogy. The site has also offers for sale books that films are based on, music from the works, and other prod­ucts from the film pro­duc­ers. The company’s clien­tele includes Apple Com­put­ers, the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, The Los Ange­les Times, MSNBC, National Geo­graphic, and Starbucks.

But far from being a close pro­duc­tion, Medi­aS­torm is always will­ing to sup­port poignant projects of a “diverse nature and of vary­ing scale” as long as it deliv­ers its mes­sage in a well-executed manner.

Medi­aS­torm in the instant world

We live in the world of now. Today, it’s proven that audi­ences only search for instant and unpaid infor­ma­tion. Fewer and fewer peo­ple care about the tra­di­tional media and the atten­tion rate is get­ting lower as time goes by.

That explains why so many infor­ma­tion web­sites like Medi­aS­torm flour­ished in the past years. They try to ful­fil citizen’s new need about being global and instantly updated with no charges. So they invest in pho­tos, videos and fewer texts while try to find new forms of sub­sidiary them­selves. They also focus on spe­cific sub­jects in order to catch specific audiences.

Medi­aS­torm is spec­i­fied on con­flict areas and prob­lem­atic human sit­u­a­tions. It may be depress­ing to see a lot of arti­cles in a row, and even the stream­ing can became slow when some­one plays a lot of videos. But still the web­site deliv­ers its main pur­pose. It hasquality, it is informed, and it is user friendly and attrac­tive. It ful­fils nowa­days audience’s needs. Of course it will not pro­vide flash news and an entire overview of what’s hap­pen­ing in the world in terms of actu­al­ity, pol­i­tics or cul­ture. But it is not its aim. Medi­aS­torm is focused on a spe­cific kind of infor­ma­tion –and it man­ages to do it properly.


The cur­rent panorama of world­wide media shows two dif­fer­ent faces: those who try to answer to share­hold­ers and those who bet on read­ers. Some will think in terms of money, others in terms of qual­ity. Medi­aS­torm would be part of thesec­ond group. No num­bers are impor­tant in this media, but good jour­nal­ism in order to sat­isfy and gain readership.

Good jour­nal­ism might awake minds and make us think about what we do and what we want to do for oth­ers. If Medias are able to cre­ate attrac­tive pieces not just because of the topic but also with the aes­thetic, the result can be con­ceived as “art”. Plus, new tech­nolo­gies make pos­si­ble new bossi­ness mod­els that are more afford­able for jour­nal­ist and acces­si­ble for the audience.

For young jour­nal­ist mul­ti­me­dia web­sites are already a real­ity. To build up and exper­i­ment­ing dif­fer­ent new projects is in our hands. Medi­aS­torm is an exam­ple of entre­pre­neur jour­nal­ism that inspires us to find out new mod­els of jour­nal­ism. How­ever, we always have to keep on mind that in the end, con­tent is the most impor­tant and cre­at­ing good jour­nal­ism is a ques­tion of ‘passion’.



- storm/

- : The Pew Inter­net & Amer­i­can Life Project aims to be an author­i­ta­tive source on the evo­lu­tion of the inter­net through sur­veys that exam­ine how Amer­i­cans use the inter­net and how their activ­i­ties affect their lives. We take no posi­tions on pol­icy issues related to the inter­net or other com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies. We do not endorse tech­nolo­gies, indus­try sec­tors, companies, non profit orga­ni­za­tions, or individuals.

- tv/



- (Inter­view Brian Storm)

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