Misha LeybovichSan Francisco entrepreneur Misha Leybovich became frustrated when he couldn’t effectively tell his own stories richly on the Web. This frustration led him to an idea, which has evolved into a multimedia tool intended to simplify the process for journalists (and their audiences) who want to create interactive multimedia stories.

“Storytelling is how we express ourselves, how we learn about the world, and how we engage with each other,” he wrote in his project proposal for a 2013-2014 fellowship at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. “But creating this content (multimedia stories) is still very complicated, and takes a lot of time, skill and money.”

Example of a Meograph Display large video

Journalists are continually challenged to create more visual and digital content. However, newsrooms often have fewer resources to work with because of shrinking budgets. In addition, some people, like Leybovich, find themselves with limited multimedia skills.

Leybovich’s background is in strategy consultation and aerospace engineering but his ongoing passion throughout life has always been storytelling.

Partnering with co-founder Francis Escuadro, Leybovich created Meograph, which allows users to “quickly create stories about the news, history, travels, life events, and more by combining video, audio, pictures, text, links, maps and timelines,” all integrated into one place. According to Leybovich, newsrooms can piece together various video assets and display them using a timeline to provide context and background as news stories develop.

Meograph, which launched 10 months ago, was created as a tool Leybovich used to share personal stories, but soon journalists and educators began experimenting with it, too.

Now several major media organizations have begun using Meograph.

According to Leybovich, the team has collected analytics since the product launched in summer 2012, which has shown embedding Meographs in stories “greatly increases pageviews, shares and time-on-site.”

Leybovich said one of the next steps after the launch was finding a partner, such as RJI, to work with and serve as a guide as they prioritize the upcoming phases in the project as he aims to offer Meograph as an embedded creation tool.

“We have a couple of big things we’re going to be working on for next year,” said Leybovich. “Having a thought leader in journalism like RJI is definitely beneficial to us, and we hope we can contribute to the RJI community, as well. It’s nice to be able to have a real say in the next generation of technology for news media.”

Jennifer Nelson  
Senior Information Specialist


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