Here are two new examples of modern comic journalism. No, not Bleeding Cool Magazine (for a change), I mean journalism using comics. Firstly where's Symbolia, a new journalism magazine using comics to tell its stories, to be read on tablets. They have a free issue downloadable on iOS right now and are offering subscriptions of $11.99 for six issues.
The examples they show use different styles to tell different stories, and much thought has been given as to how information is portrayed on the page, from narratives, to individual perspectives, to symbolism, with audio clips and slight animation that can be triggered during the reading process. It's an incredibly accomplished piece of work and I'll be subscribing today.
Someone they might want to get in touch with is Dan Archer, whose latest project is to use non-fiction comics to tell the stories of survivors of human trafficking in Nepal. He sees huge potential for a visually impacting awareness-raising tool to reach out to at-risk communities where literacy levels are low. And is using Kickstarter to fund it.
A graphic journalist from the UK (heavily influenced by Joe Sacco), was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford in 2011, with work on American Public Media, Poynter Institute, Truthout, Huffington Post and the Guardian, and also part of Insomnia.. On top of collecting and sharing survivor stories (focusing on their successful reintegration back into society after their trauma), he's conducting the first study to gauge the effectiveness of visual materials like comics for lowering trafficking incidence in at-risk, low-literacy areas (across four separate districts in Nepal).
In 2010, he completed a similar comics project in Ukraine entitled Borderland: Seven Stories as Told by Survivors of Human Trafficking backed by the Fulbright Program and translated by the International Organization for Migration into Ukrainian and Russian. He's currently working with a number of NGOs in Nepal (UN Women, Shakti Samuha, Didi Project, Nepal Youth Foundation). He is based in Jhamsikhel, Kathmandu from now until May 2013 and you can help fund his projects here.
It's a nice idea, but I always find it a bit tricky when journalism is based around constructing a narrative. It's a big problem in the mainstream media, because facts get skewed to fit the story that they're trying to construct. As a way to tell true stories about people (such as Dan Archer is), sure it's effective and affecting, but as a way to deliver current affairs stuff (as Symbolia seems to be)...I dunno.