"Inside Confucius" is part story, part demo of a new form of journalistic storytelling | Kickstarter ::get involved::

A group of UX journalists, social journalists, storybuilders and media producers are building a story to explore the Confucius Institute via innovative journalism that fuses modern-infographic designs with augmented-reality technology.

The project will comprise a series visually enticing and intuitive infographic panels that are digitally overlaid with mobile-accessed video articles communicating depth and emotion. The augmented-reality overlay technology is accessed through a camera-linked smartphone or tablet app that will allow interactive features promoting dynamic audience engagement.

The idea is to combine the impact of print, the interest of infographics, the connection of video and the interactivity of mobile to engage news users more thoroughly and substantially than other storytelling techniques.

Using Kickstarter is less about crowdfunding the effort (although that would be great, too!) than it is about using the popular platform to develop and interact with audience.

Read more about it at Western iMedia on kickstarter.com

It’s really about journalism that gets noticed, because otherwise, what’s the point?

The Confucius Institute is a program directly funded by the Chinese Government that provides teachers and resources for teaching Chinese language and culture in local schools and colleges around the globe — and that sparks some controversy in the process. It’s a good story in its own right.

But then, in cooperation with world-class-data-visualization design firm Column Five Media of Orange County in the United States and augmented-reality technology pioneer Layar of Amsterdam, Netherlands, Western iMedia is producing this project in a non-traditional multiplatform journalistic format conceived specifically to tell the story to the greatest effect in light of the primary narrative elements:

  • The facts, numbers, maps, lists statistics and examples combined to characterize the scale and nature of CI at various levels from international to national to state to individual communities. The storytelling will engage the audience members in visualizing and grasping overwhelming data for them to derive context and informed opinion.
  • Then there are the experiences, emotions, viewpoints and interpretations of the people involved with and affected by CI activities. The storytelling here will engage the audience to assemble familiarity and personal perspectives most would otherwise not be in a position to achieve.

The idea to use Kickstarter is not so much an effort at crowdfunding the project (although that would be welcomed) as it is to use generate audience, interest and interactivity around the story.

Western iMedia is an entrepreneurial editorial start-up operated out of Western Kentucky University’s School of Journalism and Broadcasting. Comprised of an elite team of fusion journalists, they specialize in using innovative editorial techniques to tell stories and inform society. They are the new type of journalist needed to work in the startups, spinoffs, non-profits, NGOs, social networks, corporate communication divisions and other enterprises that are new mainstream media.