Saturday, November 8, 2008

Class project on Richmond

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Travis Fox fan


Last week at Washington Post, Chet Rhodes spoke highly about one of their video producers, Travis Fox. We have seen his work in class and his story-telling technique is very compelling. It’s no surprise that he is an Emmy award winner.

First time I saw Fox’s work, was a seven-minute video titled A Fragile Renaissance. Fox works with simple wide, medium and close up shots. He focuses on building characters through his documentaries. In the Renaissance video he travels all through Medellin showing the life of the city. But the local people in the video help make a connection with the viewer.

For our final class project this semester we struggled a lot with locating sources, finding the right people to talk to and making videos worth watching. Journalists of Fox's caliber have their research in place from the first day and though a small word research demands a lot of work. But in the the long run saves time.

For the election season Fox has been doing a Hard Times series, again talking to people from different states and the issues most important to them. More so he presents complex interwoven subjects into simple humane association.

In class there is constant discussion on good videos, proper camera angles and artful editing. As we go along doing our visual and online journalism assignments we get better but the crossover from print to video (for me) just seems impossible. But before we learn film making and photography the art of reporting, writing and storytelling needs to be strongly rooted.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Inside Washington Post







Last week on a class trip to the Washington Post meeting Chet Rhodes of the interactive division gave a fresh perspective on online journalism. Rhodes has worked as a news director on radio, taught broadcast journalism for 10 years and is currently assistant manager of the web division.

Rhodes was very positive about the work environment at the Post, which was obvious considering he works there. But his enthusiasm certainly was heartfelt.

Rhodes also clarified the certain myth on newspaper interactive division not turning profits. He said, “It’s not that we not making money. We are making plenty of money. If we were a business onto just ourselves we would be like great, but that’s not the case. We are trying to make up for the fact that newspapers are declining.” Washingtonpost.com was ones of the first ones to launch comments on their stories.

In the three hours spent there Rhodes answered a lot of questions and gave a good idea on the difference of treatment and craft online journalism demands.

Overall this outside-the-classroom experience and into the real world of online videos, web interactivity, user behavior, change in media landscape and video making and camera techniques was a valuable lesson.

Here's Chet Rhodes covering the conventions.



Saturday, October 18, 2008

Internal evaluation could be a starting point



Adam Riley’s column in The Phoenix talks about the presidential debates and journalists having conflict of interest. He points out while some scandals are recognized and discussed there are a few that miss the public eye. The recent on the list is the moderator of the vice-presidential debate - Gwen Ifill and her book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. The reaction came after the debate and she was even spoofed by Queen Latifah on SNL.

Riley states, “the public gets a double message: we (the media) aren’t as hard on ourselves as we are on everybody else; and we don’t trust you (the public) to.”

I guess a having a bias towards a subject or story is one thing but a defined one-sidedness can affect the journalist' credibility. If there were a potential conflict of interest with the story, then a self-evaluation exam would help in avoiding future trouble. We need to ask ourselves:

Will my involvement with the subject affect my perception towards the story and will the viewer/reader's perception change if I decide to pursue the story?
If I support a certain organization or a candidate is it fair to report but show my inclination outside work?
Is it better to avoid a story having a potential conflict of interest?
Am I jeopardizing my company’s reputation?
Is it appropriate to report a story if there are personal beliefs (on religion and politics etc.) or relations with the subject?
Is it better to be open and transparent from the beginning about my involvement with the subject?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Media is dealing with changes

Lately it feels like media is busy assessing the changes it is going through. The news formats have shortened and perhaps it is because the sources to get that news are manifold. We are experiencing information overload. With the rise in new media like blogs, facebook, twitter etc the challenge is to bring news in the best consumable way. And sometimes the consumable format is a text alert.

Professional journalists and broadcast and publishing houses are no longer competing amongst each other. Today everyone is a writer, producer and publisher. Though professional standards are compromised more and more consumers prefer a balance of new and old media. For journalists it certainly is no excuse to reduce writing and reporting standards. Dumbing down the information is not the solution.

In the last five years media has seen a decline in the newspaper business and is busy reinventing itself. Traditional media is trying hard to bring the viewership/readership back and reach its prior monopoly. At the same time there is an urgent need to re-evaluate old school methods and join hands with new technology and parallel media.

I think the future holds a lot of innovation from the traditional media. It will be really sad to see newspapers going out of business. Not just newspapers but all other traditional platforms are going through a rough patch. The change has taken everyone by a storm. But overall we will see a new and improved face of media and hopefully it will be a balance between strong journalistic writing and reporting standards and multimedia technology.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A worthy innovation

At VCU’s Mass Comm Week I got a chance to get an inside look from the industry people. The fears attached to the job market in media (and elsewhere) are omnipresent, but overall the opportunities for fresh-out-of-college journalists are still plenty.

At one of the events Phil Hillard (on left) and Michael Terpak spoke on “Innovations for the newspaper business”. Hillard and Terpark recently graduated from VCU and currently are part of a young team in Media General’s publishing department. Their job involves using new technology to generate new areas of revenues.

According to the duo, coming up with innovative ideas to attract more business for publishing is not the only challenge. It’s tough hanging in there with the kind of bureaucracy involved in big companies like theirs. They felt that even though they were hired to bring in a fresh perceptive in publishing, the top management on most occasions wasn’t open to new ideas.

But one of their successes has been the classifieds for Tampa Tribune website. They enabled small businesses to come online and advertised their products and services with the freedom of choosing their own design and content. It helped the businesses in advertising for much less compared to the newspaper.

They are currently working on a FindADayTrip.com, a website for individual and pre-packaged day trips. It provides travel businesses an online presence, a chance to advertise and different tools to connect with their customers. Again the pitch wasn’t easy for them. Firstly the top-level suits didn’t understand the concept. Their Interactive department saw this as a potential threat since this would take their business away.

I guess with the bad economy and deteriorating newspaper business such innovations can help save the newspapers for being extinct. Unaffiliated media and better technology are somewhere responsible the decline of newspapers and publishing media. But here’s a chance to use that very technology to bring a new and improved face of newspapers.
Here's what Phil Hillard and Michael Terpak predict.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

You, me and Youtube




There is an increasing amount of discussion on new media and its impact on daily life and social behavior. The Christian Science Monitor’s Cole Camplese wrote an interesting editorial on the evolution of the web.

He mentions a video - “Charlie bit my finger” on Youtube viewed by 53 million people. The funny thing is, it’s a home video of two kids having their cute moment. Camplese says, “The point of this new media landscape is to create something and share it with the world.” The web has formed a community that provides interactivity and communication, which was not possible before.

You don't need to be a big actor and A-list director to showcase your work. Charlie’s older cousin on Youtube would be this “Evolution of Dance” video having over one-hundred million views. That is a phenomenal figure for any broadcast medium.

Here’s a comedian giving a six-minute performance on evolution of dancing. For many such performers and artists, Youtube and similar others have provided an economical and quick road to fame. The relentless growth in new media probably indicates the importance of convenience. Convenience to produce and share videos that previously had a small circle of audience.

There is a fair and equal opportunity for every person to broadcast himself and expect a reaction. The individuals out there have formed a community which now is responsible for making and breaking trends.

Camplese sums it up in three sentences. "Today the Web landscape is dominated by blogs, wikis, and social networks. It is finally fulfilling its original promise of interaction, engagement, collaboration, and conversation. We are living through a media revolution that is set to explode this political season."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Future media

About a week ago Bob Guccione, Jr. wrote an article in the Huffington Post predicting the future of media. Based on his experience he made four predictions.

The article writes:
1) Within two years, a major city daily will transform itself into a free paper. Home delivery will still require a paid subscription. The Sunday paper will continue to be sold and will morph into a hybrid of the best of a pleasurable Sunday-paper reading experience and a week-long events resource.

2) A cable channel will pass one or more of the Big Four broadcast networks in total viewership, chiefly because it makes better programs.

3) Google will lose significant market share, because viable competitors will create as good or better search engines and incentivize people to use them.

4) The Internet will not consume print, because it's not strong enough, it's not better, and it's too busy consuming itself.


I think the way technology is blending with traditional media there is a chance of dailies becoming free. The print media especially newspapers are extremely challenged by the new media. News on the go is becoming an increasing part of our lives. We no longer have to wait for the morning newspaper.

The print media is left with two choices – reform or downsize. Like Guccione mentioned at the end of the article, “The amount of choice will greatly raise the bar of quality and performance for competing media.”

About the Internet not consuming print, I think experts and researchers are still trying to figure out whether new media depends on traditional media or the other way round. But there seems to be a fair amount of control by bloggers making an uninhibited and free platform for themselves. Yet people like me who still believe and follow traditional media, will continue to subscribe. But I can't speak for millions.

Internet is experiencing and continues to go through a constant state of change and innovation. There is a strong likelihood of Google being replaced by bigger and better competitors. But competitors will need powerful tools to allure people because some habits are hard to break. And we have been googling away for years now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Some award-winning students



The Online News Association announced its 2008 awards and the two winners happen to be journalism students. The work is exceptional and worthy of the award. And the amazing thing is that there is no recognizable difference between these two works and documentary/multimedia projects created by professionals.

Students of Universidad de los Andes created South of Here, a documentary multimedia project exploring lives of the people and communities residing in Argentina and Chile. On the face of it, the places are extremely beautiful and in the arms of nature but the locals are facing the harsh weather and unpredictable surroundings. Most natives have been away from civilization dealing with their existence. Yet the sense of tradition, sacrifice and warmth towards family and community. This is very evident in Last of the Yagánes and Family Matriarch.

With multiple dynamics and locations involved the students have done their leg work. It’s a very emotional compilation of humans settling in seclusion. Each of the 14 pieces compiled for the site tell a different story in a different style. The story telling is very compelling and at the same time there is an interesting combination of multimedia used to join each feature.

In some features there is a direct use of the native language supported with subtitles and that itself has helped in building the character. In other places there are voice artists speaking in the words of the characters. Overall the project looks like a feature film made with great time and effort.

The second winner, Closer to Home: A Daughter Becomes Caregiver by UNC-Chapel Hill is another documentary about a 55 year-old daughter (Elinor Salsman) trying to manage her home, husband and children and take care of her 90 something parents. The film gives a good insight on people taking care of aged parents (with the mother suffering from dementia) and though there is love and bonding, it still is a difficult commitment to manage two households.

The story telling is effortless. The creators have spent time in knowing their subjects showing key details of Salsman’s life and her struggle keeping up with everything. The film leaves you feeling for both Salsman and her parents. Though the parents have a big role in the film and the camera follows them through their daily activities there is very little communication from their side. With almost no interviews or dialogues from their side the spirit and communication between the couple and with their daughter has come through beautifully.

The film making and techniques are much simpler than South of Here. Both websites have made a wise choice of the use of multimedia elements like video, photography, natural sound and graphics and animation. As a student journalist it is very inspiring to watch work like this by other students.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

NYU Student Writes…




Mediashift, a weblog that tracks down popular and trend setting work from new media has posted a blog by, Alana Taylor, an NYU student. Taylor, an undergraduate journalism student gives an insider view into what she is dealing with.

In her class of 16, Taylor feels singled out. Just like any other Internet user she has embraced new media, but has a deeper involvement than her peers. She maintains her blog, uses twitter and also assists the social media department of a family programming company.

Taylor was hoping to use and enhance that knowledge in her NYU class. But her professor hasn’t reached the extremely web-savvy status. Infact the professor is still very far behind in the new media race.

The professor stresses that blog writing is not journalism. Taylor’s quotes, “What is so fascinating about the move from print to digital is the freedom to be your own publisher, editor, marketer, and brand. But, surprisingly, NYU does not offer the kinds of classes I want. It continues to focus its core requirements around learning how to work your way up the traditional journalism ladder.”

Taylor points out that there is a sense of struggle and rigidity involved for traditional journalists, like her professor, to make that shift into new media. It is the digital age and one cannot ignore that there is a parallel platform for writers and non-writers to make their presence felt.

As a journalism student, I find myself between a Taylor and her professor. I have a facebook account and blog but still the idea to be so out there and easily accessible to the world frightens me. I understand the importance of new media and its growing popularity but I do feel bad for declining popularity of newspapers.

Inspite of Taylor’s extensive mention on her professor’s closed mindedness towards new media, she deeply respects her as a writer. Here’s where Taylor needs to take a moment and think that you need strong journalistic training and experience to earn that name. Though Taylor has a better place in my multimedia class.

As channels for new and old media grow, it is getting more and more obvious that each medium (whether a blog or feature for a magazine) needs different set of writing skills. Each medium needs individual attention to training.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Podcasts are gaining popularity

This is Ruchi Naresh reporting for my blog coolwebeverywhere. Internet users are increasingly time-shifting their media consumption by downloading podcasts. Last week the Guardian UK wrote a story based on research by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The research says 19% of Internet users download podcasts to listen or view at a later date.

A similar study in August 2006 found that just 12% of Internet users had done this. A popular podcast directory suggests that the demand for podcasts has grown from 26000 to 43000 podcasts in last two years.

This gives journalists more opportunities to display creativity in podcasting. New multimedia streams are giving journalists more ways to communicate with the user. At the same time the user has a choice to watch and listen to his favorite programs at his convenient place and time.

Podcasting gives an advantage of not being confined to program timings and schedules.

Teaching is also evolving with technology. The Pew research says, “Some professors are experimenting with podcasts in other ways. They are producing their own podcasts or having their students respond to readings and lessons by creating podcasts rather than traditional papers.”

The research gives a good indication on the demographics. Young adults aged between 18 and 29 are the age group most likely to own MP3 players, with 61% owning gadgets of this kind. This just shows that concise writing formats and scripts have a responsibility to communicate more in less time.









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Friday, September 5, 2008

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Online and Digital News

The Pew Research Center has a comprehensive survey report on the online and digital news consumption of Americans. During the last decade the general public has shown a 24% increase in using the Internet for news. Overall the channels for acquiring news have increased over the years and Internet, cell phone and other technologies are becoming more dominant.

The popularity of online news is prevalent among college graduates. They comprise of 61% of the population compared to 44% of college students and 19% high school or less educated users. Interestingly, the top two sources for news are web portals - Yahoo (28%) and MSN (19%). While CNN, Fox, New York Times and other traditional media sites stand much lower in the list. This amazes me because Yahoo and MSN use wires and other news sources to post news. Overall the reliability on print media websites like New York Times (4%), Wall Street Journal (2%) and Washington Post (2%) is very low.

On the other hand the use of search engines to look for news stories has grown from 70% in 2004 to 83% in 2008. There is also a fair amount of general web users (23%) reading blogs on politics or current events.

Good news for magazines like Slate and Salon; a very small amount (5%) of population goes online to read them. Though news videos on Internet is gaining popularity with 33% of Americans watching news programs online.

It is no surprise that the social networking sites have become popular. The survey says, “Fully 65% of people 18 to 24 - 82% of those who go online - say they have a profile on MySpace, Facebook or another social networking site.” But the SSNs haven’t been a popular source to get news. The survey also reports, “Three-in-ten of those who have social network profiles say they regularly (10%) or sometimes (20%) get information about local, national or international news through social network sites.”

While social network sites remain a sluggish source of seeking online news, email (35% in 1995 vs. 68% 2008) is a rapidly increasing form of sending or receiving news story to friend of associate.

In conclusion search engines, web portals, blogs and emails are different channels within the web that people acquire their news from. The common theme here - none of these are actually responsible for creating or reporting actual news. Traditional news reporting and writing is losing its essence gradually and if the online and digital news continue to invade (which it will), the presentation formats might become smaller and headlines will become entire story. In a way newspapers and news channels will have majority of its operation online and the original format will take a back seat.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A deep inclination towards Soundslides

Some soundslides are more effective in communicating the message than videos. It’s true that pictures say a thousand words. I think in online newsrooms, soundslides have become a creative channel in giving facts about the subject without being boring or dry.

Online journalism is a growing field and even while we sleep at night, some new software or interactive design feature is being introduced proving that the effort to innovatively and resourcefully communicate to the reader is continuous.

For now, within soundslides there are various options to bring the pictures to life through sound and text. Our Midland has balanced soundslide mix of nature, news features, sports, entertainment and many other genres.

In class we have been working with Audacity - sound software used to edit sound files that can be merged in soundslides. But again my knowledge is basic.

The Birthday Dream Comes True on Midland has a combination of interview voice and natural sound giving a real feel of the environment.

There are so many touching stories on the site worth a visit. Most popular news sites including New York Times, L. A. Times, Democrat and Chronicle etc. are offering new and different news formats of online news. It’s good thing that I am getting a lot of classroom practice before I get to showcase my journalistic talents in the newsroom.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beyond the basics





My Multimedia Journalism class is getting deeper into audio soundslides and news videos. We are taught the basic camera angles and given a few pointers on how and what to shoot for the B-roll. For example, it is always a good idea that the subject is not looking directly at the camera.

Working with the camera and editing the videos on Adobe Premiere has been a starting point for me. Meanwhile, I was back to surfing for some good work on web. I know it will take a while to produce quality online news videos. The difference in our work and theirs is, they are extremely skilled, planned and effective in communicating the message.

Wired has a multimedia section showing a variety of slides and videos. It's obvious that there are professionals behind the camera but the composition looks fairly simple. The Clover Coffee Machine video is a standard interview. The man is showing the features of the coffee machine and the camera is moving with the instruction.

For a complicated machine like that, it makes it better for the viewer to see what the machine can do while the subject is explaining. Many times while doing the story and being a beginner at the camera, you often forget what composition will work best to tell the story.

I know as students we are not expected to achieve great camera work, but it’s important to get the right message across. Just like the simple story told about making chocolate in the How to Make Chocolate video.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Getting to know Photography



This week our multimedia journalism class at VCU has been all about photography and audio soundslides. Prior to class, my knowledge on the subject was limited to casual pictures taken while traveling. The need to learn and better about this art has got me looking into various corners of web for better exposure.

A good place to learn would be Soul Of Athens, which has a great treasure of quality audio soundslides and videos. The design and content has been featured in very attractive way with plenty interactive elements keeping you indulged. The slides are spilt in four categories namely spirituality, environment, creativity and youth.

Little Mountains
in the Environment section plays like a book. Once the picture on the left fades out the next one shows up on the right. In class our skills have been limited to making the soundslide, adding our voices, throwing in some background music or natural sounds and giving movement of the pictures. The work on Soul Of Athens combines lots of these elements adding more features.

Love In The First Person (in the Spirituality section) is a combination of audio soundslide and video. The flow of the story through pictures with bits of video gives it a documentary treatment. It shows a couple talking about a new event in their life that will bring a lot of changes in their relationship. Needless to say, the pictures tell most of the story.

Their Submit Some Soul section has an image gallery of users submitting their work. If you’ve been to Athens and have some photography that you want to share then this would be the place. But I am guessing their standards for judging are very high.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A healthy online relationship


It’s a satisfying experience to read a good book or an article. Just like getting information you are looking for. I think the Health magazine has a nice mix of information and interesting facts that keep you indulged.

You don’t need to have a disease to browse and read. Though it doesn’t hurt to know about back pain and how to prevent it or surprising causes of it. If your body has been reacting in an unusual way, the Symptom Checker will be quick way to find out what’s wrong. Just type in your symptom and the results will show up with a list of connecting symptoms.

Next to Symptom Checker there is a Drug Finder, telling everything you need to know about your current medication. In the same section there is an interaction icon which helps you know the risks involved, if you combined your current drug with another one.

On a happier note, there is diet guide with a laundry list of different diets. Choose any three for comparison. For example if you are looking for the best diet out of Atkins, The Zone and Jenny Craig then select and enter, a comprehensive chart will show up listing what involves in each diet.

Along with this there is a How To Cook, Nutrition Advice, everyone’s favorite Weight Loss section and endless tips on diet and shopping. Next comes beauty addressing hair, fashion, skin, and makeup care.

There are plenty useful features on Mind and Body that will catch your interest. And yes yoga is beneficial for you. Health may not be rich with multimedia elements but it has a complete guide on what you need to know about your mind and body. I finally found a healthy online relationship.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Is silly always funny?

Here’s a confession. I will watch anything funny. I mean anything. There is an extra gene woven in me to seek humor. But it’s the silly humor that needs to be consumed in small dozes. The TBS (Dept. of Humor Analysis) site falls in that silly category. But the multimedia elements in it really raise the bar for goofiness.

Right from the word go, there are crazy pop ups and surveys making you explore more. Old tricks and tools like creating funny faces by adding weird beards are also part of TBS, but the flash tools and colors are worth making the trip. For a few laughs, the Take A Survey section enables you to upload a picture and fool around adding crazy elements.

The Table of Periodic Laughter section has A to Z funny sounds. Just click on your ten best and form a composition of funny noises. The Movie Maker provides the same option of selecting a video and background score with a variety of sound effects (naturally silly ones) you can drag to the track list to compile the entire movie.

The downside is, it’s good for a few chuckles but gets boring in a few minutes. You probably wouldn’t want to revisit. Here’s an observation (for Seinfeld fans) from its Funny Shorts section that will make a long-lasting impression:

The Seinfeld show became funnier as Kramer’s dark hair grew higher.

Music on my mind


Last weekend, for my college sound slide assignment I took some pictures of an old music store. It got me thinking if lazy bodies like me could find something online for music browsing and listening. Sure there are plenty download options but last.fm, an online music store, has a complete solution for finding, listening, watching and buying music.

Somewhere I feel bad for the music stores. They suffer in business, because we choose convenience over making the attempt to visit and physically hunt for albums we desire. The online option is so readily available making it very tempting to browse.

There are times some number is stuck in your head and you probably don’t remember the artist. For minor dilemmas like these, there is YouTube, Lime Wire and many similar others but here at last.fm, you can just get your song and get options to listen to the rest of the album. There will be other options like other albums by the same artist and artists’ of similar genre. This means that you can discover new artists and share it with your friends (send tags).

I found Eagle Eye Cherry while listening to Train. For the more inquisitive ones, you can sail along with other users and see what they are listening to, and get weekly top videos and top tracks.

Overall the experience is more organized and easy to operate.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Made it right

I was in Bombay when New Orleans was hit with Hurricane Katrina. We as Indians (and most Asians) could really relate to it having gone through the 2004 Tsunami. A lot of foundations, charity organizations, corporate companies or individual donations came forward to help the cause monetarily and otherwise. But maybe there wasn't always a transparent account on how the money reached the victims, or even if it reached at all?

I got to thinking about this while browsing the Make It Right website. Being a Brad Pitt initiative, it surely has got a lot of attention but he takes on the cause to an interactive level.

Such sites make it quick and easy to donate and get a virtual tour on how the money has been working since the donation. MIR gives an option on the amount you want to chip in. You can click into a house besides the amount box and see every room and furniture that will be added to the house. Again, you can pay for anything inside the house.

Some good 3D studio is put in use in their design section giving a clear picture on the house layouts. Besides, there is entire photo and video update on the pink project implemented for large-scale affordable housing for Katrina victims.

A good combination of interactivity and virtual tours makes any project believable. And let’s face it we want to know that our donations have made a real difference.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

This is some tasteful cooking


I am guessing the day is not far where we'll be watching live TV shows online. I can imagine Rachael Ray cooking her Spaghetti Aglio Olio on a live web show. And once she’s done she would be standing there answering your questions on food.

Speaking of food and cooking shows, the website I am about to discuss is about the close companion of food. TurboChef features their new oven with your own personal chef guiding you through the product details and recipes.

If you are interested in exploring the TurboChef, just get in and click on the oven and every interior and exterior feature of the oven will make an interactive orbit. Continue clicking the oven body-part you are seeking to know more, and the selection will get larger.

I forgot to mention that this is one good-looking oven. I didn’t know ovens are supposed to look this delicious. Moving on to the most interesting part – your personal chef. Chef Charlie (in flesh and blood) will walk within the screen and show you some recipes possible in the oven.

Start with selecting ‘cook a dish’ link, and a dial will appear asking you the time you have to prepare a dish. Voila, the chef walks in and suddenly you feel you are watching TV.

The magic of the web amazes me, and more than that it always has new possibilities. The web world comes with a promise that web designers and engineers won’t run out of new and exciting interactive tools.

Happy surfing!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Virtual rides


In my accidental surfing experiences I have come across many websites that have a great marriage between design and interactivity. There is an unlimited supply of interactive tools that indulge us and going forward in the multimedia era it never hurts to explore what’s out there.

Perhaps as a student of multimedia journalism it will help keep a dairy on websites with an edge in design and content. Car companies have been stretching every cord of interactivity to give you a thorough experience.

It’s simple yet extremely sophisticated in design and interactivity. One such example is the Volkwagen site. Once you get in, there is a plethora of play-and-explore features. You can just pick a model and get every detail of the model. The deeper you go and you wont feel the need to visit the showroom.

You can configure your own model to your needs (from engine to color) and get a quote. It was fun seeing the virtual spray paints changing my Tiguan’s color. It’s playtime for car junkies.

The 'Volkswagen World' section goes into their involvement with racing sports. There is smooth amalgam of videos, flash features and interactivity. The entire tour gives you every aspect there is to know on your favorite ride. What's left is actually driving the wheel.

Interestingly there are many others keeping watch on the funny, amazing and breakthrough websites. Here’s a video I stumbled across on Youtube. This fellow is presenting his collection of funny websites.

Bye surfoholics.