Illustration "Jess3 and Forbes Present The Zen of Steve Jobs"

Editors, reporters, photographers, and others in the industry have all been questioning the future of journalism. Specifically, figuring out how to cover news faster and better than the competition, while still making more money than said competition. What can be done to revolutionize? Is it possible that graphic novels are an answer?

Now, graphic novels may not single-handedly “save” journalism, but they could be a good start. Business journalist Aziz Ali recently wrote an article that appeared on the website PSFK, explaining how the graphic novel can improve business journalism. And while Ali’s article focused on his preferred area, these tactics that come from using the graphic novel as a way of delivering news could feasibly be applied to all beats.

Ali looked specifically at the graphic novel The Zen of Steve Jobs, which was put together by Forbes Magazine and creative agency JESS3. The journalist behind Zen, Caleb Melby, pointed out that “while journalism remains an industry in crisis,” if we work to find fresh, new ways of storytelling—along with adding some sort of human element—we’re moving one step closer to helping the industry’s precarious future.

With Zen, Melby first did the reporting and research, then put all of his information together by way of a movie script—“because I had no idea how to sketch out a graphic novel at the time”—and the novel progressed from there.

Another journalist who’s used the graphic novel to present news differently is Joe Sacco, author of Palestine. Melby explains that Sacco’s work “is a medium that’s really rich in storytelling, and it allows you to do a lot of different things with it as a journalist.”

So for all you journalists worried about what might become of increasingly cryptic profession, fret not. As Melby says, “the written word is still incredibly powerful.”

Lead image via JESS3.

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About the author

Natalie Guadagnoli was the Production Editor of the Summer 2012 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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