Are you ready to win the pulitzer prize in multimedia online journalism?

The Pulitzer board hasn’t quite created a category for “Best Flash-based multimedia feature” or “Best Google Maps mashup,” but it has decided to allow “online material as well as print content in all 14 of its journalism categories, starting with the 2006 competition,” according to a press release.

In the process of getting ideas about how to present multimedia packages and what to learn first, I’ve been looking at what some newspapers have to offer on their sites.

There are two or three folks putting together the Mercury News Photo site for the San Jose Mercury News. The photo slideshows that just use stills and audio are put together using an inexpensive piece of software called Soundslides, and the more complicated pieces involving graphics and video are built with Macromedia Flash. Check out the piece on Bangalore – I love the way they use video to lead into the story.

The New York Times has a little bit of everything. Notice how they use the same base page for everything, with their logo on things and the same loading graphics. The Times is making sure that everything gets stamped with their brand and integrates into their site – you don’t feel like you’re tossed to some other server – users know they’re looking at the NYT.

ANG Newspapers in the Bay Area point to the same Multimedia Features site. A recruiter from the Oakland Tribune told me to learn Flash if I wanted to get an online internship there (I’m learning as fast as I can, Martin!), and that ANG had already trained 14 reporters on Flash. You can see that in the results: every feature has its own style, fit to the story in question. Everything here is themed to serve the narrative.

The Rocky Mountain News of Denver created “Final Salute,” a multimedia package to complement a series of features on a set of military officers who notify the families of fallen soldiers. It’s a great story and an excellent package. Pay attention to how much more impact the story has because of the first person accounts. We don’t just read quotes from the sources of the story, we hear their voices, and that makes a world of difference.

And for something on the totally creative side, you must see MediaStorm. It’s a collection of multimedia photography projects — be sure to check out “1976,” sort of a music video about daily life in Cuba.

Have you got a favorite spot to check out multimedia features? Let me know.

[tags]Flash, multimedia, pulitzer, online journalism, new media, newspapers, journalism, photojournalism, photography[/tags]