The Mario Blog
02.16.2017—2am
Ties that bind: storytelling, design, coding

It's a first for my Columbia University course, Multiplatform Design & Storytelling: introducing students to the essentials of coding. It's also the new reality for journalists in a modern digital newsroom.

It was a special class this week for my students at Columbia University's School of Journalism. I have taught this course for four years now, but this is the first semester when I thought we had to include a segment on essential elements of coding. I am also grateful that my teaching assistant, Andy Rossback, who works full time for The New York Times, is quite adept on the subject so that he can teach it to the students, and to me, too.  I followed the program just like the students did, dipping my toes into such programs as GitHub, iTerm and Sublime Text.

It is a reality of our times that technology sits at the center of where the action is in newsrooms everywhere. While we are aware that these journalism students have no intenetion of becoming coders and/or developers, we are also cognizant of the fact that it is important for journalists to know what happens to their story and their designs. It is in the spirit of that knowledge that I have asked Andy to introduce students to these coding essentials.

The exercise

We have spent the first month of the semester introducing students to a Design Boot Camp: basics of story forms, typography, grids and color.

The emphasis has been on visual storytelling, especially for mobile devices.

One of the most interesting assignments has been to take the famous Gay Talese piece (Esquire, 1966), Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, and apply visual storytelling techniques for how that story would be presented in the digital age.  Students have added visual assets: audio, video, photo galleries to mix with the text.

Now they have used that story to learn the basics of coding. One story and various approaches and learning experiences from it.

The notion of coding may be intimidating to some journalists. It should not be. It is easy to understand and it all begins to make sense in a short time.

Just like it makes sense to realize that technology is strongly linked to all that we do as storytellers and, most importantly, the work of the visual storyteller/designer.

TheMarioBlog post #2572

Blog Post05.26.2017—1am
New book: Designing for Touch
Blog Post05.25.2017—1am
Medium redesigns homepage: curated content is the key
Blog Post05.24.2017—1am
It’s the new storytelling, the new editing, the new design
Blog Post05.23.2017—1am
Millennials and their obsession with their phones—publishers, take note!
Blog Post05.22.2017—1am
Spiegel Daily: the German magazine’s new product
Blog Post05.19.2017—1am
Another day, another Trump bombshell for the front pages
Blog Post05.18.2017—1am
From digital to print: another example
Blog Post05.16.2017—6am
Trump bombshell news lands on the front pages
Blog Post—1am
For The Guardian: one contributor at a time
Blog Post05.15.2017—1am
The New York Times banks on kids: never too early!
Blog Post05.12.2017—1am
Good guide to e-newsletters that catch the reader’s attention
Blog Post05.10.2017—2pm
The firing of the FBI Director on Page One
Blog Post—1am
Sarasota Herald Tribune gets new look
Blog Post05.08.2017—8am
The Macron victory in France through the front pages
Blog Post—1am
Tony Awards: And the winner so far…..
Blog Post05.05.2017—1am
And now Dubai has its own font!
Blog Post05.04.2017—7am
The NYTimes’ Sketchbook: great visual solutions
Blog Post05.03.2017—1am
The luxury of paper
Blog Post05.02.2017—1am
Trump: 100 days and the front pages
Blog Post04.28.2017—2am
And now the annual report via Virtual Reality
Blog Post04.27.2017—2am
Digital down market? Yep, it’s the HuffPost’
Blog Post04.26.2017—2am
When digital products transition to print
Blog Post04.24.2017—9pm
Agustin Edwards: Death of a media patriarch
Blog Post04.22.2017—8am
The best designed newspapers in the world
Blog Post04.21.2017—1am
It’s Allium, Cyrus Highsmith’s new font creation
Blog Post04.20.2017—1am
For mobile ads, too, scrolling is the way to go
Blog Post04.19.2017—1am
NYT: Linear, visual storytelling at its best
Blog Post04.18.2017—1am
Gulf News: the evolution of sponsored content in Dubai
Blog Post04.12.2017—1am
Austria: The marketing of a newspaper
Blog Post04.11.2017—1am
NYT: What a difference a continent makes
Blog Post04.10.2017—1am
High school journalists’ investigative work produces results
Blog Post04.07.2017—1am
Some interesting weekend reads: innovation, new products, new numbers
Blog Post04.06.2017—1am
Print can be big, too
Blog Post04.05.2017—2am
The first Spanish-language newspaper for children is here
Blog Post04.04.2017—1am
Design thinking for journalists, why not?
Blog Post04.03.2017—2am
It’s a new look for the Las Vegas Review Journal
Blog Post03.31.2017—2am
Highlights of my webinar
Blog Post03.30.2017—7am
It’s the era of templates
Blog Post03.29.2017—1am
The role of print in my students’ lives
Blog Post03.28.2017—1am
Journalists and cocktail parties: not a happy mojito these days
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.