Multimedia Storytelling in Journalism: Exploring Narrative Techniques in Snow Fall
1.1. Storytelling in Print Journalism
The wind tore through the valley with icy fierceness Monday, as if nature itself were keening over the unthinkable bloodshed. This, after all, was a place of promise and young dreams. Of futures, not funerals. Across the sprawling campus of Virginia Tech, in the shellshocked aftermath of the nation’s deadliest mass shooting, the wind whipped through the parking lots now filled with police cruisers, and stung the faces of the few students who hurried past with blank-faced determination.[The Washington Post, 17 April 2007]
1.2. Multimedia Storytelling
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Scene Reconstructions
The snow burst through the trees with no warning but a last-second whoosh of sound, a two-story wall of white and Chris R.’s piercing cry: “Avalanche! Elyse!”
The Cascades are among the craggiest of American mountain ranges, roughly cut, as if carved with a chain saw. In summer, the gray peaks are sprinkled with glaciers. In winter, they are smothered in some of North America’s deepest snowpack. […]
“Read this”, one sign read in all capital letters. “Ski Area Boundary. Minimum of $1000.00 rescue fee! Do you have a partner, beacon, probe and shovel? Explosives may be used in this area at any time. Continue at your own risk”.
A smaller sign read: “Stop. Ski Area Boundary. No ski patrol or snow control beyond this point”.
C. went past and cut left. His camera recorded Rudolph and S. whooping their approval as he stopped in a shower of powder, about 40 feet below them.
“A little pang, like, ooh, this is a pretty heavy day out here”, C. said. “Thing’s holding, but I remember having a feeling”.
C. stopped above two trees. He nestled close and pushed his right ski tight against them.
3.2. Event Structure
In late February 1910, ceaseless snowstorms over several days marooned two passenger trains just outside the tunnel’s west portal. Before the tracks could be cleared, the trains were buried by what still stands as the nation’s deadliest avalanche. It killed 96 people.
To skiers and snowboarders today, Tunnel Creek is a serendipitous junction of place and powder.
Chris R., the effervescent 30-year-old marketing manager for Stevens Pass, knew the preferred route down. Tunnel Creek was his favorite at-work diversion. Earlier that weekend, he mentioned plans for a field trip to Tunnel Creek to a select group of high-powered guests and close friends.
3.3. Viewpoint Techniques
“Chris was so mad that he had a meeting”, H. said. “It was a pow day, and you couldn’t tie him to his desk on pow days”.
“I think we were all acting as calm as we could, because we knew that the moment needed composure. But internally, yeah, we were all freaking out”.
“Tunnel Creek at 11”, Jack wrote. “Perfect”,
C. thought. “That’s just what I wanted to do”.
At first she thought she would be embarrassed that she had deployed her air bag, that the other expert skiers she was with, more than a dozen of them, would have a good laugh at her panicked overreaction. Seconds later, tumbling uncontrollably inside a ribbon of speeding snow, she was sure this was how she was going to die.
S. called 911. It was 12:40 p.m.
“I’m reporting an avalanche”, she said, breathlessly.
Frantic voices behind her shouted encouragement.
“Come on! You can do it! Come on, buddy! Take a breath!”
“Uh, we do not have a helicopter yet in the area because of the avalanche risk”, the dispatcher said.
“He said: ‘It’s going to be so good, babe. I’m going to take some folks up to Tunnel Creek,’” H. said.
At the upper end of the meadow, more than 100 yards away and out of sight, Elyse S. waited in the silence, unable to move.
She did not know how long she had been frozen there—head pointed downhill, hands sticking out of the snow, face poking through the ice just enough to breathe and see the breaking clouds trailing the weekend’s storm.
Her hip ached. Her mind wandered. She wondered who else was caught in the avalanche. She wondered who was left to rescue them.
She felt herself getting colder.
“Is that a ski pole?”
“Yeah, that’s a ski pole.”
“[…] That’s when like, like reality came–came in. Like, I’m crying now, but it was like stone cold like, like ‘ah just turn my transceiver on’. Yeah we’re getting signals. I’m sitting here getting signals”.
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|Narrative Category||Text-Linguistic Features|
|(1) Scene reconstructions|
|(2) Event structure|
|(3) Viewpoint techniques|
|(1) Scene reconstructions||√||√||√||√|
|(2) Event structure||√||√|
|(3) Viewpoint techniques||√||√||√|
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Van Krieken, K. Multimedia Storytelling in Journalism: Exploring Narrative Techniques in Snow Fall. Information 2018, 9, 123. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9050123
Van Krieken K. Multimedia Storytelling in Journalism: Exploring Narrative Techniques in Snow Fall. Information. 2018; 9(5):123. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9050123Chicago/Turabian Style
Van Krieken, Kobie. 2018. "Multimedia Storytelling in Journalism: Exploring Narrative Techniques in Snow Fall" Information 9, no. 5: 123. https://doi.org/10.3390/info9050123