One of my staff’s goals is to bring the same variety of storytelling models to the web that they offer in print. That means exploring a lot of new tools that make online interactivity much easier than it used to be (back in the good ol’ Adobe Flash Action Script coding days). As they do this, I’m asking them to share the tools and their process in a series of short Q&A posts. If your staff experiments with one of these or another online multimedia tool, please share.
Which multimedia tool did you use?
What does it do?
Scribd allows you to upload documents online and embed them to WordPress.
What story did you use it for, and why did you choose this particular tool for this story?
My story was about two girls who won first place at a regional creative writing competition. It seemed like a no-brainer that their contest submissions should be available to our readers somehow. I wanted to be able to include their pieces within the same post as the article while also making it obvious that they weren’t part of the article itself. Scribd was the perfect tool.
What did you find the tool does well?
Well, it gets the job done! I was able to upload straight from Word (other similar sites asked me to make a PDF first), and the formatting was preserved.
What were your frustrations with the tool?
I had hoped to make the Scribd embeds longer vertically than horizontally — like an actual sheet of paper — and then align one to the right and one to the left with the text wrapping around. While I found it easy to change the dimensions on the embed, I couldn’t figure out how to wrap the text (although this might say more about my inability to comprehend code than the tool itself).
In which scenarios would you recommend this tool to others?
Any story that would benefit from the inclusion of an outside document. Writing competitions are an obvious one, but I can also see Scribd being helpful when analyzing legislation or new school policies. Not sure how likely this is to happen in a high school context, but if anyone happens to find letters from a young J.D. Salinger — or, for that matter, any handwritten letters, notes, whatever — it would be cool to include those as Scribd embeds as well.
— Q&A with senior Amrutha Dorai, El Estoque Editor-in-Chief