Digital Story Critique 6: Firestorm

The digital story I selected to critique this week is called Firestorm. Warning to anyone reading this post, this is quite a long digital story, but well worth the time to navigate through it!

Wow! What a powerful story. Essentially, this town in Tasmania suffered from a catastrophic fire, one that was so bad the fire fighters could not even begin to fight. However, due to past fires, the town has learned things about the best way to deal with them. In this case, it was protect what you can and make sure the people in the town get out and stay safe.

While the overall story was about the fire that devastated this town in Tasmania, the story took on a personal note by incorporating how one family dealt with the catastrophe. The used an interesting mix of text, audio, video, still video, and photographs to tell the story. They also interweave history with personal stories with ecology.

To critique this digital story, I chose the following criteria from Jason Ohler’s Digital Storytelling Assessments page: Story, Research, and Digital craftmanship.

Digital Story Evaluation Criteria
Story How well did the story work? 9
Research Was the project well researched and documented? 10
Digital craftmanship Did the creators have a good command of the media? 9
Total 28

The story was long but very powerful. The creator separated it out into chapters, which broke it up and made it feel almost like a book. I think one way they might have approached it, would have been to separate out the various parts: history of the country/town, the ecology and fire lesson, and the personal story. This way the viewer could choose to watch all of it or part of it instead of having to wade through everything. However, the story worked really well, and they did a great job of incorporating a lot of information in a consumable format.

The creators obviously did a ton of research to create this digital story. There is a lot of historical information as well as scientific information that is presented throughout the story.

The creators also have a great command on the media they used. Everything works seamlessly. I think the only issue I had was that sometimes I had to scroll a lot to get through a chunk of text, and I wasn’t always sure when a video/audio portion was completed so I could scroll to the next section.

Interestingly, this story is also available as two e-books. I did not check out the e-book (the link was broken), so I am not sure how much more information is available in them. But I do like the idea of telling the main components of the story in an interactive format and then making a more in-depth look into the story available.

2 thoughts on “Digital Story Critique 6: Firestorm

  1. I enjoyed this story and watched/read it whole way through! Being from the central CA every summer was “fire season” and there was always one going on near us. Then we moved to CO and went through the June 2013 fire as well – so I could relate to what this family went through a little. I’ve always lived in what they called a “flammable environment.” It was interesting how they described the fire randomly burned out one block but not another, or several homes and leave one. After the Black Forest fire that was weird to see here too; everything gone for a mile then one house left standing or a patch of grass. This story made me realize something too.

    There was another connection for me. Where I spent my summer vacations along the coast we have groves of Eucalyptus that always seemed to catch on fire, and we were always told that the Eucalyptus trees weren’t indigenous to the area. Then I looked it up and, yep, they were brought over from Australia in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush. I never knew that or all the details about how they like fire and actually contribute to causing them. Great story and review!


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