Project description

Storybench was founded in 2014 out of Northeastern University’s Media Innovation graduate program in the School of Journalism as a “cookbook for digital storytelling.” It was conceived as an answer to the gaping need to demystify the tools, methods and technology of digital storytelling, both inside and outside of journalism. It also features long-form explorations of trends and case studies in digital storytelling as well as interviews with top data journalists, engagement editors, designers and developers around the world to shed light on their thinking and open-source their process and code.

What makes this project innovative?

For more than four years, Storybench has provided an “under the hood” look at the latest and most inventive examples of digital storytelling—from data visualization projects to interactive documentaries to gamified journalism—as well as the tools and innovators behind them. Staffed by paid undergraduate and graduate students, it’s kept our students networked with industry leaders and both curriculum and professors current. In sum, Storybench helps its readers and students understand what’s being built in digital storytelling and how, so they can find their way to what might be built next. We’re also utilitarian in our mission. Our tutorials for doing data journalism with R, Python and Javascript, or using tools like Tableau, Plotly or Tabula, are very popular, aimed at introducing the amateur coder or journalist to the gold standard tools of the trade. But in addition to our tutorials, we have interviewed more than 100 “makers” in a handful of industries that touch digital storytelling, and created a white paper, \"Collaborative, Open, Mobile: A Thematic Exploration of Best Practices at the Forefront of Digital Journalism,\" outlining our insights from the multi-year project. We also attempt to be as current and relevant as possible – we strive to cover the frontiers of where those industries are headed so data journalists can derive inspiration and keep news engaging and front-and-center. Our categories like the “Climate Journalism Lab,” the “Reinventing TV News Project,” and the “Storybench 2020 Election Tracker” allow us to tie academic research interests with public-facing, news-pegged reporting that connect our students and faculty with important sources.

What was the impact of your project? How did you measure it?

For more than four years, Storybench has provided an “under the hood” look at the latest and most inventive examples of digital storytelling—from data visualization projects to interactive documentaries to gamified journalism—as well as the tools and innovators behind them. Staffed by paid undergraduate and graduate students, it’s kept our students networked with industry leaders and both curriculum and professors current. In sum, Storybench helps its readers and students understand what’s being built in digital storytelling and how, so they can find their way to what might be built next. We’re also utilitarian in our mission. Our tutorials for doing data journalism with R, Python and Javascript, or using tools like Tableau, Plotly or Tabula, are very popular, aimed at introducing the amateur coder or journalist to the gold standard tools of the trade. But in addition to our tutorials, we have interviewed more than 100 “makers” in a handful of industries that touch digital storytelling, and created a white paper, \"Collaborative, Open, Mobile: A Thematic Exploration of Best Practices at the Forefront of Digital Journalism,\" outlining our insights from the multi-year project. We also attempt to be as current and relevant as possible – we strive to cover the frontiers of where those industries are headed so data journalists can derive inspiration and keep news engaging and front-and-center. Our categories like the “Climate Journalism Lab,” the “Reinventing TV News Project,” and the “Storybench 2020 Election Tracker” allow us to tie academic research interests with public-facing, news-pegged reporting that connect our students and faculty with important sources.

Source and methodology

All Storybench content is produced or sourced by Northeastern University School of Journalism faculty, students and partners.

Technologies Used

Storybench is built on Wordpress with occassional embeds including Github Gists, iframes of D3, Datawrapper and Carto maps and R code.

Project members

Aleszu Bajak, Dina Kraft, Jeff Howe, John Wihbey, Martin Frigaard

Link

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