World Press Photo’s ambitious multimedia workshop series

I’ve just recently returned from Tunis, where I was a trainer for World Press Photo’s Reporting Change multimedia workshop. The aim of the workshop was to teach video and multimedia storytelling skills to 10 participants who work across North Africa.

However, this particular workshop is quite different from others I’ve participated in. Why?

1. It’s more than one workshop

Often times multimedia workshops are focused on teaching video storytelling skills to photographers. And in a week you usually do the following:

  • A day or two of fundamentals and how video is different from photography.
  • Then you have them shoot and make a ton of mistakes.
  • If there is time, they go out and shoot again and make different mistakes.
  • Finally you have them edit the video, usually for several hours late into the last evening of the workshop.

The final product is rarely strong enough to publish anywhere. But the idea is that this crash course is the extreme scenario that will prepare the students for future projects where they wont have a coach looking over their shoulder. Sort of like training at high altitude, so race day at sea level will be easier.

So how was Tunis different? Actually, it wasn’t. We did all those things mentioned above. And everyone struggled as they always do. But you could see them improve over the course of the week.

The difference in this case, is that it’s not over. The students now have 10 weeks to work on their projects and the coaches will be in regular contact for advice and guidance. After that we do another week of post-production training and polishing before publishing the pieces. So to further muddy the metaphor, in this case we are not only working with the participants for the high altitude training, but we stick with them all the way to race day.

2. It’s a workshop for everybody

While myself and Cedric Gerbehaye will be coaching the participants, DJ Clark is conducting a public facing version of the workshop with the help of the talented education team at World Press Photo. It’s impressive in its sheer ambition.

The World Press Photo Academy – Connected Learning page on facebook is the central hub for what will be weeks of daily multimedia and storytelling content.

Every week has a new topic, an assignment, and insights from industry professionals. DJ explains it best here.

Connected learning is already up and running and off to a great start with a conversation on storytelling between DJ and Brian Storm the founder of Mediastorm. Mediastorm has been an influential leader in digital multimedia storytelling. Definitely worth a listen.

3. Reporting Change has a regional mission

One of my favorite aspects about this workshop is its focus on strengthening the storytelling skills of journalists in North Africa. Particularly in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

If you’ve been following the news in North Africa recently, you know that it has been trying times for those committed to documenting the rapid changes that have occurred since the uprisings of 2011. Those journalists can use all the help they can get.

It’s truly been an honor to play a small part in this ambitious Reporting Change effort. Drop in and get involved as well.


By Matt Ford

Matt is an avid experimenter of new forms of visual storytelling. He worked as a multimedia journalist for The Associated Press covering the 2008 U.S. presidential election, the Arab uprisings, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Before journalism, Matt worked in the Los Angeles film industry as a set and studio lighting technician on productions such as Spiderman 2 and The West Wing.

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