“The only way to get the journalism we need in the current environment is to take advantage of new possibilities. They [journalists] have new tools for creating visual and interactive forms of explanation. All these developments have expanded how the public can get and process the news.”
This year Submarine and VPRO launched an interactive documentary (interactive map) called The Industry, a perfect example of what Bell calls “taking advantage of new possibilities”. It shows how drugs are everywhere and everyone has to deal with them – from electrician to pizza delivery, from farmer to mayor. It offers a glimpse in some small personal stories of how the drug industry in the Netherlands works.
To me one of the biggest strengths of this start-up is that it gives viewers the opportunity to get information about locals. So you can specifically search on your own neighborhood for example. To me it is very interesting to read and listen to people’s stories from my own city. For me as a user it is very nice to be have this focused information. At the same time this can be a weakness, because it you do not expand your search that quickly. That way you do not get the overview of information you might be looking for and also.
In my opinion an opportunity that lies ahead of interactive documentary in general is how you reach people. So how do you create a great group of users? I ask this question because these documentaries are mostly published no websites still. While the largest online public is mostly active on social media platforms. Which is a threat to interactive documentaries in the sense that it has to compete for the attention of the online individual.
By Laura Das
Bell, Emily (2007). “The Future: Journalism and Media as Post Industries” – Tow center for digital journalism