New Jersey Newspaper Animates Editorials

The editorial board of New Jersey’s largest newspaper, The (Newark, N.J.) Star-Ledger, has taken to a new story form to express its point of views: the animatorial.

It’s an editorial that’s in animated video form. The result is amusing, hilarious and a surprisingly effective storytelling method.

The production values are pretty corny. It’s cheesy text-to-speech animated figures on a real-life background. But the story (in this case about toll hikes) is told in a way that anyone can understand. It speaks to the viewer more than a traditional text-based editorial would.

For a video to be an effective storytelling tool, it need not have tons of bells and whistles. Instead, it needs to be well-written and understandable. And that’s exactly what these animatorials are.

Previously, the Star-Ledger did a similar animatorial about the state’s pension mess.

The lesson here is that these videos do not seem to complicated to produce, but go a long way to explaining complex issues to your audience. A post here from April shows simple it is to make videos like this entirely within YouTube.

Explanatory journalism is very important, and after watching these videos I felt like I definitely understood what was going on.

The Star-Ledger, and other news organizations, should be making more videos like this. The topic need not be sexy, but an important one that needs to be explained. (Who can forget the fracking song?)

And, like the fracking song, think of how cool it would be for your animatorial to go viral! So give this a try. And please, share any similar examples in the comments below.