Sunday, September 20, 2009

EPJ Project Proposal

For my final project, I plan to do a multimedia story on how Eids (Muslim celebrations following Ramadan and Hajj) are celebrated among the Muslim community in St. Louis and Columbia. Both cities have huge Muslim immigrant populations where members are highly involved in religious activities. This keeps them attached to their culture, origin and religion. To strengthen ties with their home countries among their children, Muslim immigrant parents go to great lengths to incorporate a feeling of community. This includes holding of colorful events, participation in cultural and religious activities, cooking authentic meals, wearing traditional clothes, going to the Islamic centers and arranging home open houses for the community.

For an outsider, all this would be alien and at times, baffling. Despite living side by side, people of other faiths and ethnic groups and the white American population does not know much what goes on in the Muslim community of these two cities. My objective is to bridge these gaps and create a better understanding of Muslim culture among the American people. This is a small step towards a greater long time project in the future.

The slideshow will consist of stills, both colored and black and white aided by audio. The audio will include short interviews of people at the Eid festivals, music, and commentary and background noise to provide an overall ambiance of these religious celebrations. The slideshow will last 2-4 minutes, have an introduction and an end note and will be sewn together by the images. The images will follow a chronological order of events. A total of 20-30 images will be used. Few more will be added depending on the need.

EPJ: Multimedia Website Critique

Observation, analysis and opinion of the Mediastorm website.


The Mediastorm website narrates human stories in a powerful and thought-provoking manner against a simple black backdrop of its design. This simplicity enhances the 'diverse narratives' published on the website and is the core of the Mediastorm philosophy 'speaking to the heart of the human condition.' The URL is appropriate and can be easily searched on the Internet.

The positive attributes of the website include clarity, cleanliness and quick upload time which attracts a visitor to dig deeper into the different features and stories it offers and its interactive. The opening page is nicely laid out, the menu navigation is simple, content is well-organized and the pages are consistently aligned. Font is consistent too. Navigation is great as one can easily hop from one link to another without having to click the browser over and over again to go back and forth on the site.

The color choice is nice - it’s pleasant, not harsh. But the body font color is grey, which is very soft and a bit light for readability. Also the lonely blue on the home page makes it a bit boring and monotone. More so due to the fact that the successive pages carry multimedia projects on depressing issues. The design in the title is the same as in all following pages which is a positive attribute.

The effects are dramatic due to simplicity and black background, which is required for a site showcasing dramatic stories and visuals. Any "flashy" elements would be secondary and not needed. The site provides enough information without becoming cluttered or confusing. Its layout is logical and organized very well, with eight categories to direct the viewer. Each category displays sub-categories list for ease of navigation through the large site.

The side bar with Google ads is quite annoying and gives the website a commercial appeal, which journalists and artists should avoid at all times. Some projects take a while to load which can irritate a visitor. One big negative point I have noticed is that the body appears right under the container in a window. This can be a distraction for someone who is really interested in the slideshows. Either the size of the container be increased to take the next box further down in order to take it out of the window or move the second container down so that it is out of site when a project is being viewed.

The great visuals add life to the website and there are there is a large number of projects that keep the visitor stay for long. I feel Mediastorm uses the capabilities of the web well without going overboard with extravagant tools that detract from the original purpose of the page.