The Washington Post Company's new series, onBeing, not only does what good journalism does best -- it also takes advantage of technology, it follows some of the simpler precepts of good storytelling (get out of the storyteller's way) and it is simultaneously thoughtful and entertaining. In case you were beginning to worry that "old media" would never get "new media," something changes. (Richmond-based publishers: Pay attention already.)
Videographer Jennifer Crandall kicks the onBeing series off with four simple video stories -- a gay Mormon, a hipster nun, a precocious kid and a lactose intolerant cheese-maker. White backdrops, close-up shots, relatively stream-of-consciousness into-the-camera discussion. Three minutes (give or take) focused on each person's passion, dream or struggle. Awesome stuff.
But it's not YouTube quality embedded video, oh no. onBeing not only lets viewers download in four different formats, but can kick those of us Mac users with our saucy iTunes software directly to iTunes' podcast section [from iTunes, follow Podcasts | The Washington Post | onBeing].
One of the best aspects of onBeing, though, is its simplicity -- it creates a space for people to share their quirks and thoughts and stories without a filter, and without complication. Storycorps on film, minus the maudlin moments. (So far.) From the onBeing website:
onBeing is a project based on the simple notion that we should all get to know one another a little better.
Starting conversations. It's what good news publications do best, when they are doing their best work.