Forget immersion: welcome to experience journalism

Reading time: 1 min

Derrick Goold is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s baseball writer. On his blog (brilliantly named Write Fielder), he writes about a class project from his journalism school days, where students had to immerse themselves in a story over a series of months.

Goold opted to follow a politican on campaign. He writes: “My story was richer (I hope) and it was certainly longer (I admit) because my experience within the campaign colored and powered my writing.

But what service did that immersion provide to readers? “Did I really take a reader into the campaign or did I just describe what it was like there?” he asks.

Enter Scribble. “ScribbleLive gives me, just another newspaper guy, the ability to provide visual coverage — as it happens,” he writes.

Goold’s been testing out the platform for his spring training coverage. “For a team like the St. Louis Cardinals, spring training happens far away from its nucleus of fans and relatively out of sight compared to regular-season games. The Cardinals have a ravenous fan base to start with, and because spring training happens far away, with limited access to video or info save for the half dozen beat reporters in place there, the craving for information is insatiable.”

Goold’s end product: a multimedia extravaganza with pictures and videos of interviews with management and players. “The interview with John Mozeliak was processed and posted before his presser with the media had ended, meaning readers who were watching this stream of info were watching Mozeliak talk about the camp minutes after he said the words. I shot video of the first official bullpens thrown by Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, and within minutes our readers at StlToday.com were watching the same thing from the comfort of their homes or on their mobile phones. Throughout the process, I was able to answer questions from readers or offer news as it happened.”

Goold wants to flip immersion journalism around: why not immerse the reader in a story the way journalists traditionally immersed themselves? He calls it experience journalism. And you’re going to see a whole lot more of it.

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