Words aren’t enough to illustrate the vivid festivities of Chinese lion dancing; photographs paint the real story.
The photo story in The New York Times, “Celebrating the Chinese Lion Dance,” is a collaborative piece between writer, Andrew Boryga, and photographer, Jason Lam. Lion dancing is a Chinese tradition where celebrators don large and decorative costumes of giant lion figures to celebrate the Chinese New Year.
Lam, a Chinese American and former lion dancer, took the photos in the story at last year’s lion dancing parade. The photo story also includes short text by Boryga describing Lam’s background and the holiday. The photo story was published on Feb. 13, 2015 in time for the Chinese New Year, which is today, Feb. 19.
The story is a piece of journalism because it remains objective on the topic of Chinese lion dancing and includes a credible source in Lam. The story doesn’t feature photos that were carelessly shot or unmemorable. Lam effectively composed each picture and told a story through the photo subjects and captions. He immersed himself in the parade and took pictures that give readers the sense that they are at the event.
Boryga’s short text in the story engages the audience and explains the significance of lion dancing in Chinese culture. He guides the reader through the exotic and wild Chinese celebration that is illustrated through photos in the story.
When it comes to how the story uses social media to connect with readers, the piece could have included more social media sharing options. There are ways to share the article on Facebook and Twitter, but no option to share the photos in the story. For those who don’t have time to read the whole piece, it will be helpful if the article allowed audiences to handpick the photos in the story and share those specifically on social media.
What the story does well using social media is offer icons at the top that readers can click to follow the Facebook and Twitter account of the Times’ photo story section, Lens. This helps the Times promote their photo stories by having audiences follow a stream of its content on social media.
Thus,“Celebrating the Chinese Lion Dance” uses striking pictures and effective text to drive the story forward.