SND.IES: Thoughts from the judges in the trenches

Judging is ending for Category 2 Non-Breaking Presentations, 2A News. Some of the judges reflected mid-vote on what stands out about this year's entries.

Jen Friedberg, Star-Telegram: "We're seeing two divergent trends; one that is data-based and one that is more feeling or content-based. I think the strongest form is going to be the one that blends both styles efficiently."

Mike Schmidt, Horizon Productions: "The thing that stands out the most for me is that so many entries have off-the-shelf design elements and this being a design competition, that kind of rules them out in my book."

Valerie Aguirre, Raleigh News and Observer: "The projects that I'm leaning toward are the ones with high-quality videos and panoramas. A personal preference are the ones with data visualization."

"The biggest thing is making sure that people pick the right tool for the story they're trying tell or the information they're trying to get across. I say that too because I work at a newspaper where it's constantly a struggle to pick the right tool."

On her first time as a SND.ie judge: "It's pretty exciting to be here to see the things that people are trying. Even if you look at websites, you aren't really exposed to this quantity of multimedia."

Nora Paul, New Media Institute: Nora compared this year's crop to the last time she judged the SND.ies several years ago. "I think the conventions for using narrative multimedia are smoother (than they were) but they still aren't slick like broadcast news. I like hearing the reporters doing narration. It's not overproduced."

"One of the things that is interesting is the very complex data that designers are trying to work with and to sort. Being a data person I really appreciate that." She added that it can be tricky to judge data-laden presentations out of context. “You see all this data, but without the stories, what does it mean?"

"It is interesting seeing the use of templates, especially for breaking news," Paul said, mentioning the use of animated infographics by the the New York Times.

Erin Debnam
University of North Carolina
School of Journalism and Mass Communication

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