The world gets smaller with local storytelling app


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An innovative education and citizen journalism project, Small World News, has just released a storytelling app that has built into it all the tools necessary for scripting, shooting and editing a short news video. StoryMaker (demonstrated in the above video) walks through all the steps to put together a short video that can easily be uploaded to the web. It has editing features, compositional suggestions, story formats and many ways to link and share the final piece.

The app draws on the long experience of Small World News. In his TEDx talk (posted below) co-founder, Brian Conley, describes his work in a variety of war zones and revolutionary situations to help people tell their stories. The Small World News web site features their multiple storytelling projects that are happening around the world.

This tool will be handy for media educators. Students can learn rather quickly the basic storytelling structure of news and produce their own within a meaningful amount of time without a major investment in technology or funds. My only concern is that the app could potentially be too formulaic: its templates may restrict creative possibilities. On the other hand, it is simply doing what teachers normally do, which is to model a boilerplate that scaffolds to more advanced forms of production. I look forward to the opportunity of giving this app a try.

Update: Niels ten Oever writes: “One small correction: the Storymaker app is jointly developed and published by the Guardian Project, Small World News and Free Press Unlimited.”