Easing the audience into visual journalism

One thing holding back the rise of audience-generated media is visual journalism. Too many wordsmiths simply know nothing -- or very little -- about illustrating their buckets of words. The result? Many viewers will not read too deeply into a screen of un-illustrated words.

The free Microsoft Paint shipped on new PCs does very little to help. Yet, moving up to PhotoShop Elements or another consumer photo editing application requires a learning curve.

We find it interesting that Microsoft supports an effort at Washington State University for the university's improvements to Paint with Paint.Net V2.0. This free program -- with 40,000 downloads so far -- introduces working with Layers to the emerging graphic artists who try this program.

And, with broadband video-on-demand about to explode, we're watching an amazing consumer app called Muvee that automatically edits raw video into specified story formats.

Of course, we have to mention the two graphics-generator sites we use to auto-generate many of our illustations: the German site LetterJames, and a student project by Katharina Nussbaumer in Austria called Typogenerator.