J-110 Multimedia Package Critique

2014: The year in graphics

I chose the multimedia package from the Los Angeles Times for a few reasons. Being more regional than some of the other packages, in regards to local news. Also, it seemed to be right before the election season was in full swing, and I try to avoid visual reminders of the last several years for my sanity. The multimedia package in question is extensive, covering in their words, “Our best work is collected below, including drought and earthquake coverage, statistical looks at crime, healthcare, pollution and transportation, and illustrations of events in science and technology.” So the topics were broad.

Screen shot of headline of L.A.Time’s The year in graphics multimedia presentation on Thursday, May 27, 2021 (Maggie Knowlton/J-110)

One of the more odd and bizarre topics filling it under California, L.A. County’s Unclaimed Remains of 2011, by Maloy Moore and Jon Schleuss with a brief explanation and then transferred the written records of 2011 into a visual info graph spanning age and sex. A strange but exciting inclusion I did not expect. The infographic was one of the most interesting parts of the presentation; however, it brought along more questions, such as why someone would remain unclaimed. Were they migrants? Did they have no family? Did the family have no means to collect their dead?

One of the most useful ones, also filed under California, was How to Chose the Best Produce Any Time of the Year, by Lilly Mihalik and Anthony Pesce. With brightly colored pictures and circles around the produce currently selling, this also accompanied the ability to know how to fix the product and store it. This utilized writing and photography rather well.

There were also super great things like interactive Where Can You Live in California by Tom Schleuss, which I do not suggest unless you want to feel depressed. Most, in my experience, will not be able to make that interactive piece of multimedia work. Californians cannot afford to live in California; they are born here and never leave because it is California.

At this point, I started hitting paywalls. Whenever I would click, I would come up against their subscribe here, which was not fantastic. Sometimes it would work, sometimes not so much. The Science and Technology worked, I suspect, because it was mostly a commercial for Apple’s new products like the original I Watch.

Screen shot of paywall encountered. Taken Thursday, May 27, 2021 (Maggie Knowlton/J-110)

The downside to this multimedia presentation, however, was finding paywall, paywall, and paywall. Every time I encountered something on Sports, Politics, or Transportation, I ran into a paywall, making it impossible to track down what media they were using in its entirety. However, each subject I did find seemed to use a relatively balanced form of two or three, with usually writing and infographics being the two that went together a lot. I found this presentation engaging, and I would have liked to see each one. Since it is so old, I would hope that the L.A. Times would have made it available to all. I attempted to see each one, but I was not able to.

My favorite category, however, was the second to the last, the Experimental category. Less robust than most, including things like The Many Faces of Robin Williams, my Len Degroot, Armond Emamdjoneh & Javier Zarracina in memorandum for his death.
My all-time personal favorite was tongue in cheek, a board game where you roll, to see How to Be a Writer by Paul Duginskin & Jon Schleuss. The wording is important to me. It is not tips and steps on how to get from point A to point B but a game formatted like the game of life, at which point at the end you may know the road to “Being.” It is ingenious and gave me a giggle.

Screen shot of “Being” a writer exersize in the Experimental Catagory. Taken Thursday, May 27, 2021 (Maggie Knowlton/J-110)

The package was quite long; however, I attempted to get through it; the only problem was that the paywall stopped me. Even with the paywall, it took me about two hours to sift through all of the material there.

It did represent a good use of multimedia because of how varied the site was, but it did run the risk of looking rather discording because of the breadth of the topic at hand.



University of California, Berkeley English Major, Journalism Minor, completely insane most days.

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Maggie Knowlton

University of California, Berkeley English Major, Journalism Minor, completely insane most days.