Storytelling in the Time of the Tablet

Dr. Marcio Garcia, a renowned international news designer with more than forty years experience of designing newspapers, magazines and websites, opened this year’s JMSC Professional Lecture Series with a talk about the impact of the tablet on the media.

Mario Garcia expounds the tablet

The main message of Garcia’s lecture was that we must all “enter the tablet field” or perish like dinosaurs.

Garcia said he wished he was twenty five and entering a career in journalism now because the advent of tablets will open up so many opportunities for young journalists.

Unlike many older media professionals who decry new platforms, he embraces them and insists that each new medium need not replace an old one.

“Tablets will be the object of choice of people looking for information,” said Garcia. “However, they are not going to eliminate the other media.”

Garcia showed the packed audience how a story travels now through a convergent newsroom. It starts as a four or five line alert on a phone, then becomes a 10-15 line online report, then moves to a second day update in print, and finally becomes a story for a tablet.

“We will have to re-think our newsrooms,” he said. “All newsrooms will have to have a discussion about tablets in terms of storytelling, advertising, technology and economics.”

People expect more from an app on a tablet than from a printed edition of a paper, so pop-ups would be necessary in the form of audio, video and photos.

A packed audience listens to Dr. Garcia

Garcia believes strongly that photography will play an  important role on tablets and also that this medium will encourage the renaissance of long-form articles.

This is good news for journalism students as good photography and writing require the kind of skills that can be developed through programmes such as those run by the JMSC.

Garcia also emphasised the need for all young journalists to be able to work across different platforms and to be able to operate in a multimedia world – skills that are also taught here at the JMSC. He encouraged students to study apps available for i-Pads and to consider doing projects about content and lay-outs for tablets.

“Creativity was never more important than today,” he said. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for you all.” With that, he encouraged everyone to go out and buy a tablet and to start studying the apps available.

For this, he believes, is the future of journalism for many years to come.