The first words I uttered to my students at my Multimedia Storytelling class for the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Mexico City a couple of weeks ago were these:
"Learn how to become a visual storyteller because being a still photographer will no longer get you a job or a gig."
Vincent Laforet, a freelance photographer based in New York, and formerly a staff photographer at the New York Times, has written an excellent article in Sports Shooter, which is a must read by photographers of all disciplines and styles.
As far as multimedia and audio slideshows are concerned, Vincent writes the following:
Photographers will have to think of themselves as visual storytellers - not just as still photographers. Photographers will becomes much more adept at producing multimedia content - not just boring slide shows with music - but ones that are truly engaging and original - basically they need to invent the next generation of storytelling - something we haven't seen before (i.e. they need to differentiate themselves from HBO Documentaries, and the other broadcast giants - not try to compete with them...) And this is key: Photographers need to brainstorm new ways to connect with their audiences and find new and original ways of generating income with these new "connections." Photographers need to be ACTIVELY involved in thinking up new ways of generating income in a fashion that will be acceptable to their modern, hip audience."
Note that he differentiates between multimedia content and "boring slide shows with music". Many so-called multimedia productions are nothing but slide shows with borrowed music...I was critical on this very issue while reviewing The New York Times' The Virgins of Albania a few days ago.
Thanks to Eric Beecroft for the heads-up on Vincent Laforet's article.
Here's another pro-multimedia article titled Photojournalism For the Web about Brian Storm of MediaStorm, which appeared today in the Wall Street Journal