Final Reflection:

What is good multimedia?

After taking the multimedia writing course, I’ve began to understand what good multimedia writing is. In my understanding of what I’ve appreciated from multimedia writing, it’s the use of various tools that weave aspects of creativity and interaction within writing, creating the ability to inform and educate in ways that are unorthodox and often tastefully done. This can be done through the traditional use of video and audio, combined with an enticing layout, or it can be expanded to various other tactics. For example, the New York Times often utilizes maps that provide different facts and views as you scroll throughout the page, the media dictating how the viewer navigates the website as the map moves with them.

Use of maps within the New York Time’s article, “Miles of Ice Collapsing Into the Sea”

Use of maps within the New York Time’s article, “Miles of Ice Collapsing Into the Sea”

As a whole, multimedia writing is always changing and evolving to be something that is new and while also building off of the basis of what multimedia writing grew from. As a form of writing, it has developed to become one that is actively challenging restrictions that once defined the borders of multimedia expression, constantly allowing change to happen which is frequently promoted by advancing technologies.

Through the changes taking place within multimedia writing, through technological advances and a freedom within expression, our understandings of topic are also changing. What I would have considered good multimedia writing two years ago is vastly different to what I consider good multimedia writing today, specifically in the ways in publications are able to be explorative with the content they are creating, and how they are able to explore creativity with page layouts.

As multimedia writing is always changing, our judgement upon what “good” multimedia is to be evolving as well. Through the readings, I learned that our judgements can’t be constrained by the ways past publishing and writing dictated what was “good.” As stated within Scott McCloud’s “Chapter 6: Understanding Comics,” most work, specifically comics, are enveloped within “the curse of being judged by the standards of the old.” There is a need to not allow standards of the old, that were created and maneuvered in a time that was both technologically, as well as socially different, to limit our ability to create works that pertain to current communities and peoples.

Therefore, my understanding of what “good” multimedia writing is one that is constantly evolving as new pieces are being created that utilize new tactics of writing and composing media, most of which challenge and pave the way for future writers, like myself, to create ever improving work.

How does media shape communities?

Media has the ability to sculpt narratives that often go unheard or go unimagined. Through the utilization of media, stories are able to be told with a new depth that surpasses past tactics of journalism, specifically in the creation of visual components that draw upon a sense of connectivity and compassion between the viewer and the people they are learning about. Rather than just describing with words, the viewer is taken into the lives of the subject through visual components, they are able to hear the intonation of their voice, the way their home is decorated, how certain characteristics come together to form the person as a unique individual, all of which are cultivated through media. Therefore, character development is promoted within multimedia writing, which can develop a sense of community as people are able to connect to one another on experiences and lessons that are depicted within the media.

Media also enables stories to be told free of restrictions, in their ability to lack the physicality of words and instead educate in more fluid formats. For example, media may allow audio to be the primary form of projecting information, or a video, or various other tools that media is allowed to utilize. Through this, typical notions of storytelling, specifically within journalistic formats are negated as media comes in as a replacement, therefore forming more approachable stories that are able to connect with larger groups of communities, thus promoting a richer sense of community.

As well as this, social media prioritizes the use of videos in order to spread information, thus when stories are created in a way that are able to be easily accessed in terms of information, social media sites grab onto them, often allowing stories to go viral. For example, when an article describing the experiences of folks is shared it receives less attention than a two minute video that is able to present the information in accessible and concise forms as more people are willing to watch and share a video over reading an article. Further communities are educated on specific topics, which alongside the use of more accessible stories, continues to promote larger audiences and stronger ties with one another.

What presumptions did you have before you started the class?

Prior to taking the course, I simply thought of multimedia as implementing photos and videos within writing in order to tell a story. Although photos and videos do play a vital element within much of the multimedia writing that is produced, there are various other factors and components that can come together to make a piece engaging.

Historically, the use of words and images formed the basis of what multimedia writing was to become, with news publications utilizing advancing printing presses to produce content that allowed images and words to be paired alongside one another.

However multimedia now has grown to encompass various other tactics that surpass just the use of photo and words, for example with the implementation of video, but also more vast ways of encompassing audiences through interactive processes to expand what the term “multimedia” is able to mean.

There were various tools that were mentioned by Knight and Starin within their website that begin to explore the various ways multimedia has grown to be term that is vast and continuously changing. An idea that hadn’t come to mind before was that of co authoring, which presented the idea of a sculpting work where the relationship between the writer and the reader is based around collaboration and creation, thus allowing the final product to be one that is co authored. Instead of a reader just passively going through a piece of writing, as is common in many forms of publication, they are able to become “actors and participants” within the piece. Knight and Starin mentioned various tactics for executing this, for example allowing the reader to write out parts of the story, that would be saved within the piece, thus creating their own touch on the writing. Other ideas could include the importation of photos, audio, etc. belonging to the reader, thus creating a visually co authored piece.

As well as this meanings of co authoring were also mentioned in the ability to like and comment on posts, which in itself can add new meaning to a story and enable more information to be brought forth. For example, whenever I read stories online, specifically on social media, I look at the comment sections of the writing to see if others agree or disagree with the piece, in particular if any concerns about validity of facts have arisen from the topic which can offer vital information to the piece or what it may be missing.

Therefore, my preconceived assumptions that multimedia writing only consisted of photo of video were challenged by the readings which enabled me to understand that multimedia writing is extremely vast and entails various tactics of implementing media in order to educate, and allow readers voices to be heard.

As well as this, I came into the class with the preconceived notion that many forms of multimedia and writing are seen as emotionless, specifically forms of writing related towards journalism. However, I’ve learned that within multimedia writing, the use of emotion can be utilized as a tool of storytelling in order to connect viewers and readers with the topics at hand. This was described by Knight and Starin as "[the use of] psychology and craftsmanship to create an experience for users that makes them feel like there's a person, not a machine, at the other end of the connection.” The use of emotion within design and execution of storytelling is crucial in connecting readers to content and something that creators of multimedia pieces should be orienting their focus upon. Through the use of video, audio, and photo, readers are able to be connected with subjects and creators in ways that words by themselves are unable to do.

How multimedia writing was used in the final project for the course?

There were various aspects within the final project that utilized multimedia writing, the first being the use of interactive aspects on the website that enabled the user to have a sense of autonomy in their ability to navigate the website. Often, what I would find most enjoyable within multimedia sites is that there is an opportunity to navigate the story in a unique way that may differ from others when you have the ability to choose which story to read first which can dictate how you view the story. Within the selection of stories, a sense of fluidity is created that allows them to be continually changing yet informing, as was seen within our project.

Secondly, the traditional use of multimedia, that being photo and video, was important within the entirety of the story as it brought further life to the characters and who they are. The ability to hear their voices, see their mannerisms, the ways they exemplified passion about their creative processes, all provided a unique experience in the ability to get to know them and why they continue to create. This was executed through a series of videos that consisted of interviews with the subjects, as well as photos of their work and their process of creating, all of which connected the writing to the characters, further developing the story.

Reflecting back on the story, I feel as though there were various other things we could have added to the story in order to make it even more interactive, the main idea that comes to mind is a comment section; a space where readers are able to voice their opinions on the piece and offer advice, thoughts, etc. Through this the reader is actually able to have a voice within the piece, to share their own experiences and how they connect to the stories.

Reading Response: Monday, March 11, 2019


After reading Jones and Hafner’s “Understanding Digital Literacies,” there were various points that stood out, in particular the viewing of the world through a lens of mediation, “the process of using tools to take action in the world,” and medium, “something that stands between two things or people, and facilitates interaction” between the two. Through viewing the world through medium and mediation, we are able to see how tools, specifically digital tools, have open doors for exploration and communication between various audiences.

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The readers touched on a sense of autonomy that is created throughout the digital world, under their section titled “being.” Through the digital world, you are able to curate a persona in whatever form you would like, which can be completely separate from the person you actually are or one that excludes any flaws one deems detrimental or negative towards their image. Through this, the digital world may be used as a tool to fabricate a lifestyle that is attractive and appealing to outside viewers, however one that may not pertain to the reality of the individual.

As writers, Jones and Hafner worked towards finding a balance between “technological dystopianism” and “technological utopianism” in order to exemplify that the digital world is not the worst thing to happen to humans and can be kept under control, but also to show that it isn’t the best thing and it should be used with limitations. This is important because with any tool we utilize, it’s important to acknowledge that it is not perfect, and there is always room for correction to take place with the tool or moderation to be placed. For example, even the English language isn’t perfect because when it is seen as the epitome of languages it begins to erase the knowledge of others, such as Spanish speaking folks within the United States. Through this it’s important to acknowledge that English is a beneficial tool, however it should be used with consideration of various other languages that each hold their own value. The writers describe this as “mediational” process where both pros and cons are considered in order to depict an accurate image of the tool or topic at hand.

Lastly, the piece touches on “digital literacies” and specifically the benefits that accompany being digitally literate. Unlike analogue literacies, digital literacies enable you to be educated at your fingertips through various tactics such as videos, audio, typing, reading, etc. while analogue literacies are usually more physical in the need to enter a classroom or space where you’ll be learning. As well as this, digital literacies are more tangible and interactive, as various voices are heard amongst spaces, specifically on social media, where conversations are able to be had with not only those around you, but also people across the country or world. Rather than being lectured to, digital literacies are more sculpted around conversing, which makes them vastly different in their ability to teach and guide individuals.

Design Blog #4

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In the redesign of the logo for the homepage of my website, there weren’t many extreme changes that I wanted to execute, as I feel the image of my feet in the air surrounded by flowers is representative of the reality I’m living within and the individual I am. In a sense, it evokes a sense of curiosity that is conflated with being explorative and naive, yet there is a balance and ambiguity through the flowers and the lack of identity. Overall, this image holds value to me, and it’s the first thing I want people to see when coming to my website.

However, I did make some small alterations to the website, specifically in creating a sense of cohesiveness to make the words and the image stand out together. This was done by putting white borders around both the image and the words so that they are tied together, both adding some form of meaning to one another. After putting this together, I added a small video below them, a moment that feels wistful and formative, a day spent in a tent on the coast of Big Sur, a time that for me marked the beginning of the exploration of boundaries.

Through these edits, there begins to feel a sense of personal connectivity, that I believe is created through the almost scrapbook like presence that is presented through the format of images, words, and video. I hope to continue doing this with my website, and creating pages that feel representative of myself as an individual.

For the logo edits for the multimedia project I chose to focus on a set of images I’ve collected throughout the interviews that were conducted, small symbols that felt representative of the individuals who were speaking to me. I wanted the first edit to contain some colorful components, specifically behind the words, as I feel as though Isla Vista is a colorful location, specifically during this time of the year when the plants are beginning to sprout and bloom, and a sense of new life is brought to the land. The images play with these colors, and create a small summary of the story we are pursuing as it shows the exchange of money and the creation of goods.

The title, “Alternative Means of IV,” is not secured however I thought it was simple and explained the point of the story, which can be expanded with some form of hook later as the story is written. As well as this, because of the brevity of the title, edits were able to be made that I found to be creative and engaging without containing too many words or distractions.


Artifacts for Multimedia Project

Video Interview, rough cut, done with UCSB student Bela whose alternative means of income are oriented around her selling of handmade prints, ceramics, paintings, photos, etc.

Video interview, rough cut, done with UCSB student Christian whose alternative means of income are revolved around the buying and reselling of clothes in Isla Vista.

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Images for the UCSB students that sold tacos as a form of alternative means of income.

Design Blog #3

The goal of anything I create is for it to have some form of expression of who I am as an individual, particularly in the ability for readers and viewers to gain a deeper insight of the motivation behind the work. This is a challenge I’ve come across with designing my course blog as I’ve found it hard to implement senses of my individuality amongst writing that is often more structured and academic based, specifically writing that analyzes literature and readings assigned to the class. This is a challenge that I believe I face with every form of academic writing as there is a constant drive to create work that is unique when viewing amongst others, therefore creating something that stands out and is memorable.

The ability to create work that is memorable; isn’t that a goal all of us have? To be unique and unlike others, our work reflecting these characteristics. However, I feel as though often we get so lost in our attempt of emulating uniqueness that our work begins to be mundane, our thought processes are overwhelmed that we are unaware to allow creativity to prevail.

In terms of being successful, I think being aware of the pressure of creativity and not allowing them to restrict you has been something that I’ve allowed myself to do. I allow work to be created when I feel the creative drive behind it, rather than forcing it. Many of that is seen within this website as I still work towards constructing, however I don’t rush it because the site in itself is a representation of my creativity, and one that shouldn’t be rushed.

In more logistical goals, there is always the goal to grow from classes, specifically this Multimedia writing course as that is a field that I hope to enter after graduating from UCSB. Through my course blog I hope I am able to implement new forms of multimedia as a way of drawing interest but also improving my own skills. This also presents a challenge as I feel as though it’s difficult to implement multimedia in a blog that is asking you to primarily write, rather than create something. Through this I feel limited and constrained as I feel as though there are more engaging and interesting ways I could be providing this information, however that is something that I am conscious of and will continue to work on.

For my online profile, specifically my website and blog, I would allow myself more freedom in the implementation of interactive aspects so that visitors are engaged within the writing. This could be done with expanding comment sections or specifically asking questions within the writing so that readers have the ability to reflect and offer feedback. Within the design I’d also like to implement more video work within the posts and have more autonomy over the layout of the blog. With Square space, I’m realizing there is limited individuality in the ability to design the blog and how you would like it to look, and through that I feel restricted in the creative expression of the blog.

Reading Response: Monday, January 28, 2019

Within Kristin Arola’s “The Design of Web 2.0: The Rise of the Template, The Fall of Design,” there are various points presented relating towards her relationship with web design and the use of the design as a way of connecting teachers, students, and viewers within story telling.

Arola touches on various points, but highlights an emphasis on the relationships we have with technology, or lack thereof. In the initial page she discusses the complexity of students relationship with technology, as it serves as a guiding force within many of their daily functions, yet there seems to a be a lack of understanding between the two. Specifically there are discrepancies behind the more technical processes that make technology possible, for example coding, which she describes with the analogy of one being able to drive a car but unable to fix it. Through a lack of connection between users and the internet, sites are created to utilize these missed connections by making the site easily accessible, for example for one’s ability to be able to “post” with ease; posts are seamlessly created through websites like Facebook and Myspace, as she mentioned. Through the processes of posting becoming more accessible, the “web authoring” has been replaced as well as the knowledge that is needed to web develop. All of which show that the relationship between users and the internet has shifted to become one that is less in depth in terms of technological design, but instead oriented around presentation and aesthetic.

The focus of the web has become fascinated and oriented around content, as Arola describes as “the only thing most users have control over,” which is encompassed in the use of words, photos, hyperlinks, photos, etc. Through this, our focus has shifted be one that is visual in terms of content rather than web design and set up. Arola argues that although these aspects are important, there needs to be constant conversation regarding design and the template of design as something that is consistently able to held in the hands of the creator, rather than the focus just being on more surface level web design decisions such as photo, video, etc. There has to be a balance between everything. Much of this can be achieved through what Arola argues as the power behind autonomous interfaces which “do rhetorical work,” behind the storytelling process. Through these processes she is arguing the importance of design agency, and the ability for the creator to have their own process in the rhetoric that is created amongst interfaces. Arola emphasizes that there is lack of freedom between social media sites and our ability to express autonomy amongst these sites. There is a lack of flexibility in the ability to design our profiles on social media sites, such as Facebook, which limit the ability for creative expression but also the interpretation created through social media.

Viewing her analysis in a more contemporary view, a social media site that aligns with the inability to be fluid within template design is Instagram. As a site, there is a continuous emphasis placed upon image and the ability for one to present themselves in various ways through image and interaction with these images, as is similar to Arola’s analysis of Facebook. However there are also strict guidelines on how one is able to present their image, specifically in format size, video length, and an overall page layout, that limits autonomy amongst social media users and their ability to utilize the web deeper than surface level image decisions. Through this, users who utilize sites like Instagram are only able to attain set amounts of knowledge upon the autonomy of their design, thus lacking their ability to be completely independent in their sites decisions. However, is makes the use of the app simple and accessible to many, including those who are simply trying to use the site for image layout rather than learning more about web design.

Reading Response: Wednesday, January 23, 2019

There were various tools that were mentioned by Knight and Starin within their website that will be helpful in the creation of any multimedia story, however a few that stood out to me were those of co authoring, hyperlinks, and feel.

An idea that hadn’t come to mind before, that of co authoring, presented the idea of a sculpting work where the relationship between the writer and the reader is based around collaboration and creation, thus allowing the final product to be one that is co authored. Instead of a reader just passively going through a piece of writing, as is common in many forms of publication, they are able to become “actors and participants.” This idea is interesting because it enables the writer to create a site that is consciously created with the intent of having readers become writers and participants, thus sculpting the way the story is told and presented to be one that is accessible and engaging. Knight and Starin mentioned various tactics for executing this, for example allowing the reader to write out parts of the story, that would be saved within the piece, thus creating their own touch on the writing. Other ideas could include the importation of photos, audio, etc. belonging to the reader, thus creating a visually co authored piece. Lastly, Knight and Starin mentioned the idea that we are always coauthoring stories in terms of liking, commenting, and sharing stories to enable broader audiences to view and see them; the way we interact is in essence always a process of co authoring pieces.

Another tool that the writers discussed is the use of hyperlinks which enable the connection of various sites and the implementation of traversing, the movement from one media platform to the other. As described in the writing, hyperlinks enable the “following of one object to another,” which can allow a reader to interact with work from various writers whose work all supports or promotes similar or new ideas, thus offering a multifaceted opportunity for readers to become educated. Through the process of interacting with many forms of information, “layers of knowledge,” are created that are cumulative and well rounded. I believe this could be useful in any story as it allows not just one voice or writer to be heard, but instead multiple. The use of hyperlinks also enables stories to not be told in a linear way, but instead in one that may navigate a reader through various levels that don’t necessarily follow traditional writing, specifically journalistic forms of writing.

Lastly, an aspect that I would like to implement within my own writing is that of emotional design, as described by Knight and Starin as "[the use of] psychology and craftsmanship to create an experience for users that makes them feel like there's a person, not a machine, at the other end of the connection.” The use of emotion within design and execution of storytelling is crucial in connecting readers to content and something that creators of multimedia pieces should be oriented their focus upon. Through the use of video, audio, and photo, readers are able to be connected with subjects and creators in ways that words by themselves are unable to do.

Through Knight and Starin’s work, various tactics were presented, both new and old, that create an overall consensus of what multimedia writing should be. Their tactics will thoroughly be used amongst my own writing as I embark on a closer relationship with multimedia writing and the connection of readers to the work that I am creating.

Design Blog #2

Throughout the week, I took time to sit down, read stories, and reflect on why that story held some attraction or power to me. Compiled in my Pinterest, here are the stories that stood out to me.

The first aspect that comes to mind, is that of visual attraction. We are all guilty of this, our society training us to be attracted to what is the most attractive or visually appealing, pursuing partners that pertain to our liking, drawing closer to books with covers that tell narratives, and picking articles or stories that attract the eye. As socialized to do so, my eyes wandered to stories that attracted them, colors telling stories, the faces of individuals, these images could tell stories on their own.

However, once I’d started delving into the stories, I quickly realized there were many aspects that made their narratives engaging and worthwhile. The first being the continued use of images to narrate stories, making story telling a process that is accessible. The ability for information to be accessible is one of the key aspects within story telling that enables audiences from various backgrounds to be learning and engaging. The process of passing information thus allows education on local, national, and global levels which can enable activism oriented around the topics being discussed. Through the accessibility of information, writers are creating the ability for social change, thus displaying the power behind storytelling and writing.

Accessibility through the readings I chose was executed mainly through multimedia tactics of writing, specifically the use of videos that are able to be listened to in not only English but also Spanish. The use of bilingual reporting, which broadens viewership, was exemplified in the New York Times article, “Sin Luz, Life Without Power,” which delved into the lives of Puerto Ricans who have stayed in Puerto Rico despite lacking access to education, jobs, and basic resources, such as electricity. Through the story, you are taken within a video series that is broken up by pieces of reporting, all of which create an in depth experience on the lives of Puerto Ricans and the challenges they live through daily, many of which are perpetuated by the negligent behavior of the United State’s government. Through reading, listening, and viewing the story, your senses are engaged on various levels as you delve deeply within their lives through tactics of effective of reporting and writing done by the New York Times.

Alongside visual aspects of storytelling and an overall sense of accessibility, titles and hooks with controversial meanings or implications also attracted me into reading stories. For example Vice’s “This Artist Is  Making Work Out of The Literal Blood of LGBTQ People” drew me in instantly as I felt a sense of worry and anger rise inside of me over the idea of LGBTQ pain. Through the title, just a small phrase was able to provoke emotion and interest, one that I attempt to emulate within my own storytelling. However, precaution needs to be brought when developing titles and hooks, as they have to be representative of the content within the story, not just fabricated to draw in attention. Through Vice’s story, the title provoked emotion, but also accurately described what the story was about, thus drawing in interested audiences and keeping their attention, as it did with mine.

Alongside catchy titles, the use of images and videos, and accessible means of attaining information, all of the pieces evoked another aspect that drew my attention and desire to read more, that being their ability to connect readers to subjects in emotional and almost intimate ways. Through all stories, these are aspects that drew me in, that were executed through the selected stories as a reader is able to delve into individuals lives and thoughts to uncover their ways of expressing themselves in the midst of challenge, specifically turmoil as seen through the stories on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Mexico border. Through intimate connectivity, you are seeing the lives and sides of individuals that are not seen nor uncovered on a daily basis.

Through taking the time to reflect and write about the tactics other writers have used in their articles, I am inspired to implement new ways of engaging audiences through multimedia and accessible tactics in my own writing.