A New Chapter in Digital Storytelling

by and Sam Bailey

Last fall, we launched an interactive short film David Coleman Headley’s Web of Betrayal — a digital experiment that recently won an Overseas Press Club of America award for “pointing the way to a truly new form of multimedia storytelling.” Another of our interactive digital short films, Targeting the Electorate, was just nominated today for an Emmy award for New Approaches: Current News Coverage.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce an exciting new chapter in our ongoing commitment to innovative, powerful digital storytelling: We’ve received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to build FRONTLINE’s first tablet app.

We’ll be working with the talented teams at PRX and Studio Rodrigo, who have built apps for This American Life, Radiolab, WGBH, KCRW, Turner Sports, MTV and more.

This new app gives us the exciting opportunity to rethink how we present documentaries: the tablet interface will allow us to bundle the films with additional stories, source material and updates. We’ll be able to give you more, be even more transparent about our journalism and do it all in a visually compelling way.

We’ve known for some time that the intimacy of the tablet and its touchscreen interface will open up compelling new ways to watch and interact with our films. Research has shown that people spend more time engaged with long-form storytelling on tablets as compared to desktop computers.

But we’ve wanted to wait for the right moment — and now, thanks to CPB, it’s here.

Over the next year, our team will be blogging regularly to give you updates on our thinking, but we also want to hear more from you. How do you use your iPad or other tablet to watch films or consume news? What do you want to see in a FRONTLINE app? Tell us in the comments below.

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