Multiple frames from animation showing young man dealing with mental health issues

Repurposing with purpose: The remarkable versatility of animation

How newsrooms can make it their own

My previous piece highlighted the creative process involved in using animation to transform words into compelling visual stories. While collaboration is certainly essential in building a highly versatile core product, there are also ample opportunities for individual newsrooms to put their own stamp on the animation.  

Our discussions with newsrooms interested in expanding their use of animation, including Univision and La Opinión among others, consistently emphasize the need for visual content that is neutral in its branding. While animation is currently used in many public information campaigns, this content is typically created by federal and state government agencies, and relies heavily on words to communicate key information. Newsrooms also expressed a strong preference for content that is short (30-45 seconds), so it can be easily shared via social media and other platforms. 

Illustration from animation showing young man on a park bench playing with a dog

However, exploratory discussions have also revealed different preferences, for example around use of voiceover and the creation of multiple language versions, versus working towards an entirely wordless animation. Similarly, while some newsrooms feel subtitles bring greater content accessibility, others are concerned this could distract from the highly visual message being conveyed. 

The good news is that even where there has been close collaboration across multiple newsrooms in creating the core animation product, incorporating individual sound design and subtitle preferences is relatively quick and inexpensive. Furthermore, it is simple to add frames communicating local information, for example contact details for local nonprofits providing relevant services. 

We’ve been testing our collaborative approach in creating this draft animation focused on the triggers of depression, which currently includes a temporary voiceover, and sound design is still to be added. 

Illustration from animation showing young man exercising in a gym

We’d love to hear what you think:

  • How could you see this animation being utilized within your newsroom? 
  • Which underserved audiences might it help reach?
  • How could the animation be honed to best meet your newsroom’s needs? 
  • Which options regarding voiceover, sound design and on-screen text are you most drawn to?
  • What kind of local information would you wish to include?

Please share your feedback here.

We are looking for more local newsrooms interested in participating in this pilot where we will test a collaborative model facilitating the production and distribution of animated campaigns across multiple newsrooms. Initial public information themes identified include depression, support for domestic violence, and disaster preparedness. Newsrooms will be provided with high-quality animated content at no cost to test with their audiences, and will participate in discussions on establishing a self-sustaining model for sharing animated content across multiple newsrooms. 

Please complete this short form to express your interest and find out more.

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