On the front page of this site, I state that communication is no longer linear, but lateral.
What I mean by that is that people no longer consume one or two sources of information but numerous. What hasn't changed, perhaps, is the number or preferences for different types of information. While some people are moved by images, other trust statistics or need the issue demonstrated by a stories. Of course, we need images, statistics, stories and other kinds of information to illustrate and demonstrate an issue and new media has the potential to combine all of these.
Save the Children's recent report on the State of the World's Mothers took a step towards realising this potential when it was launched last month. The electonic booklet has a short film embedded inside the front page. It captures the key information in the report in the story of a Ugandan mother. This was available on a webpage that included an interactive map which graphically depicted the best and the worst places in the world to be a mother.
The Knight Foundation, which is based in the US is funding a project called Geomancer that will allow journalists to easily access and combine geographical information datasets to improve their stories. Geographic information is a whole other field, but one that is used extensively throughout the aid sector. The beauty of the Geomancer project is that it is open source which means that, theoretically, anyone can use it. AP is at the forefront of utilising geographic information having already developed Overview, an online tool that helps journalists mine and visually document data, such as Save the Children did with their interactive map. It's a simple but powerful tool so I am looking forward to when Geomancer is launched.
These AP tools and the Save the Children Report move beyond the mentality that media and communication are bound by the pages of a publication, the length of a broadcast or even the characters of a tweet. New media not only gives us multi-dimensional space, but also infinite space.