Class Work

Analyzing Yellowstone’s Multimedia Stories

Picture by: Kathy Hardersen

            Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 as the world’s first national park, yet there is still so much that is unknown about it. By looking at three different multimediastories, National Geographic allows us to see deeper inside Yellowstone and get up close and personal with bears, a supervolcano, and elk. The three stories together were one of the finalists for the 2016 Excellence and Innovation in Visual Digital Storytelling, Large Newsroom Online Journalism Award. 

Bears and Geysers and Elk, OH MY!

Young grizzly bear in Yellowstone Natl. Park. Picture by: Kathy Hardersen

         National Geographic allows readers to get up close and personal with not one, but four different bears who call Yellowstone home. In A Bear’s Eye View of Yellowstonewe follow two black bears and two grizzly bears and their lives inside the park. This story uses many different mediums to educate readers about bears. We see photos of Yellowstone Park, watch videos collected from the collar cams on bears, hear Yellowstone Senior bear biologist Kerry Gunther explain bear behaviors, all while following the bears’ movements on a map of the park. 

One of Yellowstone’s 500 active geysers. Picture by: Kathy Hardersen

            Yellowstone is well known for their geysers and thermal pools, and Inside Yellowstone’s Supervolcanogives you an inside look into the mechanics of what causes them. Using both video and detailed infographics National Geographic takes us underground to see what causes the 500 active geysers in the park to spew steam. 

            Did you know that 10,000 to 20,000 elk call Yellowstone home for part of the year? The Journey of Yellowstone Elkeducates us on the migration patterns of these large elk herds and follows Elk 22, a female elk, on her journey from winter to summer grounds. This article uses an interactive map to show the migration paths and data collected from tagged elk to show the long journeys these elk must go through every year.             

How are the articles written?

         The first story begins with a factual lead, informing the reader of the project to collar different bears to study behaviors and habits in Yellowstone Park. The other two articles both begin with a descriptive lead by setting the scene for the readers so they can be transported to the national park. 

            The article centered on bears does an amazing job of allowing readers to enjoy the article even without playing the sound clips from the biologist. The article uses key quotations from each clip to allow the reader to still gain knowledge of the situation.

            All three articles follow a very blog-like voice keeping paragraphs short yet informative. This allows the reader to focus more on the other mediums being used and less on the text. 

How are the stories told?

            Both A Bear’s Eye View and The Journey of Yellowstone Elkare able to weave stories in and out of the information they are providing to readers, as they follow different animals. In A Bear’s Eye View we follow four separate narratives of four different bears. Each bear acts as a protagonist and has there own set of expositions, climaxes, and resolutions. For example, bear 22517 reaches his climax when we learn he is eating one of his own kind. 

            Overall I found these multimedia stories to be very fascinating and did a great job of informing people about different aspects of Yellowstone. These articles are perfect for people who have traveled, or are planning on traveling, to Yellowstone National Park. 

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