Multimedia vs. Print

I found an article on the New York Times website about creating geothermal energy using a new method near San Francisco, California. The accompanying multimedia piece was an “interactive graphic,” basically images, animation, and narration wrapped in a video. The idea behind this new energy production process is to shoot high-pressure streams of water into two-mile-deep holes in the earth where the water turns to steam and then returns to the surface to generate electricity in special power stations. However, in December 2006, after many small earthquakes caused by this process occurred near a geothermal power station in Basel, Switzerland, a magnitude 3.4 earthquake struck the city. For the next year, Switzerland and neighboring countries experienced 3500 earthquakes ranging in magnitude from under 1 to nearly 3.5. Despite this fact, the Department of Energy, the California state government and various corporations are going ahead with their plans to tap into this new energy source.
At first I found the print article more interesting than the multimedia package. The article has a very intriguing lead about the earthquakes in Basel as a result of this geothermal process and kept my attention for the first page of text. Then, once I got to the second page (out of 3), I lost interest. While the multimedia piece does not play up the danger aspect of the story as much and isn’t as captivating, it does explain the process of extracting geothermal energy more clearly and focuses more on the direct effect the new power stations will have on the surrounding region and the nation as a whole. Overall, the print article does a better job at initially capturing the reader’s attention and providing detail, while the interactive graphic does a better job at providing the essential facts and clearly explaining the science of geothermal energy production.
Print Article, Interactive Graphic

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1 Comment

Filed under Adam Noack

One response to “Multimedia vs. Print

  1. adamz253

    I liked the graphic, although I didn’t feel it was interactive. It was more of an explanatory movie, however i felt it added a visual element that the audience would require to really understand what is going on here.

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