Our First Loves is a multimedia storytelling experiment. Produced by a group of student journalists in an interactive design class at the Medill School of Journalism, it is based on the idea that journalism on the Internet should be about connectivity. Not just hyperlinks or social networking, but connectivity in the sense that it has the unique ability to bring even perfect strangers together and show us what we have in common. New media journalism can be the ultimate equalizer, a proof of the human condition.
So, to test our idea, we decided to focus on something simple, something to which everyone can relate. We went with love. We all have stories about our first loves. Whether it was a boy at camp, a wife, a favorite old teddy bear or a life-long love of fishing, the experience of falling head-over-heels for the first time is something everyone shares.
Ultimately we found that these stories weren’t so simple after all. They are rich in humor, passion, regret, joy. It’s not about us, though—we need your help to keep the project going. Add your voice to our collection and share it with the world. Watch it resonate.
This experimental class was a learning laboratory exploring idea-based visual storytelling for the web. The class functioned as a small team whose mission was to identify a cause or class of untold stories and then find a way to fill that void. Eleven Medill journalism students were empowered to have control over every stage of this project from idea to execution.
The students began the project with individual pitches — i.e. Economic Crisis & Pets, Art During Wartime or Urban Gardens — and then refined the best of those pitches with personas, sitemaps and hand-sketched mockups. The students evaluated each of the pitches on how interesting the topic/multimedia possibilities were and how feasible it seemed.
Learning what makes good, visual storytelling was a critical part of the class. As was learning how to structure a long-term project and work in teams. The class was divided into four smaller working groups: leadership, content, design and technology. The students worked out a timeline for the project, determined how to style the content, mocked up pages and chose and implemented a content management system. The look and feel of the site was refined through group critiques. They learned about usability testing and conducted multiple rounds to make sure the site would function for its users.
This class tested the students abilities to communicate, collaborate and create. They built on their existing knowledge of journalism and learned new skills — as needed — from both the faculty and fellow students. In a fluid environment the students came together to help each other create something unique.