The website us.tomonews.com dedicates itself to the utilization of animated motion graphics to enhance its storytelling. While the site doesn’t appear to take itself too seriously with its reporting style, and may have a liberal bias, it does a creative and effective job of helping tell its stories with the use of animated motion graphics.
In its story “FBI stands by its decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton over emails” Tomonews mixes animation with still photography to show the contentious nature of Clinton’s presidential campaign against Donald Trump by showing an animated version of the two candidates waging a physical battle on the White House lawn.
After a couple still shots of Clinton delivering passionate speeches, the storytellers then show an animated Clinton running from the FBI while cartoon envelopes (representing her thousands of deleted personal e-mails) fall from the sky. In the animation, Clinton looks fatigued as she evades two FBI agents, who are chasing her on foot with a sound of a siren behind the animation. An animated fist then punches a red button, bringing an end to the siren, simulating FBI Director James Comey’s directive to avoid prosecution. Clinton and the agents then double over from exhaustion, which shows that the storyteller thought that the second iteration of the investigation was much ado about nothing.
To demonstrate that Trump may have been catching up with Clinton, in pre-election polling, she and Trump are shown racing on an animated running track. Clinton leads before bumping into an animated envelope and falling down. Trump than is able to pull up alongside Clinton before she pulls away to cross the finish line first and thrust her arms in the air, while the narrator says “Clinton, once again, looks like she’s going to become the next U.S. president.”
The storytellers then show FBI agents shoveling through a pile of envelopes while the narrator says Trump feels as though there were too many emails to know whether or not the investigation should be discontinued, and then shows Trump watching Bill and Hillary Clinton high five each other while he looks into a window from the outside. As Trump stands on the outside looking in, the narrator discusses how the GOP candidate felt the election was rigged.
The animation then uses still photos, with some panning from the video camera, to accompany the FBI’s explanation regarding the lack of prosecution. The panning from the video camera, across a fairly demonstrative still photo, gives the story a feel of chaos or craziness combined with a bit of surrealism.
I thought it was a creative use of animation to tell the story, which possessed major cynicism regarding both candidates and the FBI.
Obviously, with the benefit of hindsight, I can say that their projection that Clinton was on course to win the election was similar to the irresponsible groupthink-based narrative that most media outlets chose to follow, and was likely factor in the result of the election. Perhaps Tomonews bases its animations more on curation than original reporting.
Nevertheless, the use of animation graphics to tell the story certainly made its point more memorable, and the story more interesting to digest.