19 OCTOBER 2015
Animated news a new way to tell stories, Taiwanese reporter says

By Zhang Jun

Dummies are not dummies; they just need something to trigger their interest, a Taiwanese journalist said in a lecture last Wednesday.

“Mainstream media need a new way to communicate with their new audience,” said Yi-Shan Chen, deputy editor at Taiwan’s CommonWealth Magazine and an instructor at National Taiwan University’s School of Journalism,.

Chen is one of the six SOPA Award winners speaking at a week-long forum at Hong Kong Baptist University this year.

With a background in economies, Chen has been focusing on business and financial reporting since she began her career in 1996.

Some readers know news is important, but they think they will read it when they have more time, said Chen.

“So what can we do?” she asked. “My solution is that we should find a new way to communicate with our new generation and try to be a platform to clarify information for our readers.”

Chen said she experimented with new ways of storytelling, from words and information graphics to using animation to report economic issues. She’s tackled topics such as environmental protection, economic development, youth unemployment and inequality.

“It is easy to say, but hard to do,” Chen said.

Animated news needs a team made up of a journalist, transcript writer, broadcaster, web editor, artist, musician and animator, she said.

“You can imagine how terrible the conferences are because I have to make them all clearly understand a serious economic issues, like Free Economic Pilot Zones, even including the artists who’ve never read our articles,” Chen said.

Chen said her team will use new storytelling methods to report Taiwan’s presidential election in 2016.

“It is quite a special job, because people pay you to ask questions, and you can interview presidents in the morning and then talk to homeless people in the afternoon,” Chen said.