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 Post07.14.2017—1am
Local newspapers, new digital strategies that work
Blog Post07.13.2017—1am
The Donald Jr. Russian story: It’s somewhere on that front page
Blog Post07.12.2017—1am
Ecuador: where print still dominates
Blog Post07.11.2017—1am
Making those Tweets more graphic
Blog Post07.10.2017—1am
The pain of transformation begins with the people involved
Blog Post07.03.2017—1am
Gone to the beach!
Blog Post06.30.2017—1am
Latest EyeTrack study: how we read news on smartphones
Blog Post06.29.2017—1am
The yellow pages: yes, they are still around
Blog Post06.28.2017—1am
Tablets are nice, but those smartphones dominate
Blog Post06.27.2017—12am
Goldman Sachs and the economics of design
Blog Post06.26.2017—1am
Trump, lies and storytelling
Blog Post06.23.2017—1am
Here’s Exchange, the new Frere-Jones font: it projects calm, authority
Blog Post06.22.2017—1am
The word “redesign” should be retired
Blog Post06.21.2017—1am
IAPA’s Digital Summit 2017 opens today in Miami
Blog Post06.20.2017—1am
Senior citizens read news on their mobile platforms! Surprise!
Blog Post06.19.2017—1am
Italy: we create new logo for The Post Internazionale
Blog Post06.16.2017—1am
Forget the one headline fits all theory!
Blog Post06.15.2017—1am
Change in newsroom goes beyond just a protocol statement
Blog Post06.14.2017—12am
Telling the story with just quotes
Blog Post06.13.2017—12am
How US front pages displayed the Comey story
Blog Post06.12.2017—12am
Making those complicated Washington political stories more visually interesting.
Blog Post06.09.2017—1am
Attracting young audiences (2)–Snapchat Discover
Blog Post06.08.2017—1am
Montreal’s La Presse+ says adieu to print!
Blog Post06.07.2017—1am
Attracting those younger readers (1): one gift subscription at a time
Blog Post06.06.2017—1am
The battle for your ears
Blog Post06.05.2017—1am
Quick ways to tell stories
Blog Post06.02.2017—1am
Garcia Media turns 25!
Blog Post06.01.2017—1am
It’s social media the publisher
Blog Post05.31.2017—1am
Before you get the room, read the Airbnb Magazine
Blog Post05.30.2017—1am
It’s a new homepage for The Atlantic
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!
Contact us with speaking requests, questions or to discuss a project.