“Get the wider story”, says the new photography iPad app that Reuters launched last week.
Aiming to re-imagine the way news photography can engage its audience on a multimedia platform, The Wider Image app offers the public a selection of the best photos gathered by the news agency's vast network of photographers around the world.
The Wider Image takes advantage of new storytelling possibilities on the iPad.
Stories are a swirl of photos, narrative slideshows, interactive sequences, testmonies by photographers, expanded fact boxes and data charts and locations viewed on a world map. The Wider Image has been launched with over 100 stories and 50 in-depth photographer profiles, with more to be added regularly.
The app was created with sponsorship from Canon across Europe, Middle East and Africa and it has been made exclusively for the iPad. It displays a horizontal – or landscape – orientation (which is preferred by readers, according to the new Poynter Eyetrack research).
It is looking for a wider audience than the agency's network of media clients. “The Wider Image is targeted at people with an interest in the world and visual storytelling”, Jassim Ahmad, Reuters Media’s Global Head of Multimedia Innovation told the Editors Weblog in an email interview.
“For our Media clients – the international press - we want to share thought leadership to demonstrate how images, information and interactivity can come together for greater impact. We also aim to reach a broader audience of photography and app enthusiasts to increase awareness of Reuters photographers and their work”, he added.
Once on a story you can tap on the front image to open it and you’re provided with a short introduction. Scroll down to see the entire story that usually contains interactive content: you can swipe to an image sequence, hear ambience sound and interviews and read commentaries from the photographers. The app can be explored by date, location, theme or by photographers’ profiles.
“Whilst our other apps deliver breaking news, The Wider Image is more reflective in nature,” Ahmad explained. “It is updated daily with new stories, with an emphasis on diverse human narratives, each carefully curated for quality and longevity. Every Wider Image should deliver some form of broader context, whether it is more visual depth or interactivity, behind the scenes testimony from the photographer, or comparative information graphics.”
As is now common knowledge, the tablet offers readers a newly empowering reading experience and, subsequently, offers news media an opportunity to experiment with storytelling methods to create and deliver the best reading experience for their users.
As tablet guru and newspaper designer Mario Garcia put it while speaking at the 19th World Editors Forum: “I have been in this industry for 40 years, so I am a print person – but even if you have ink running through your blood it is the best time to be in this industry”, because of the exciting opportunities offered by technological advances, notably in the tablet world. (For those interested to know more about “storytelling in today’s new world,” Mario Garcia just published the “iPad Design Lab” digital book.)
“The tablet is a game changer”, agrees Ahmad. “It presents opportunities to reimagine the user experience to bring readers closer to the story and explain more. We have created a visual vocabulary to suit a range of story types, for instance space, contrast, witness, journey and atmosphere. I hope the app will help establish new multimedia standards and act as a catalyst to develop our production. We will undoubtedly learn many lessons, which will be applied to our professional services.”
Asked about the future for photojournalism, in the light of the growing number of 'citizen' reporters, Ahmad concluded: “The role of photojournalism is changing in the rapidly evolving media and technology landscape. Professionals must adapt to audience behaviours, address new platforms where content and experience are increasingly interdependent, and be prepared to work in different models.”
Sources: Poynter, original email interview