Redmond, Wash. – My fascination with photojournalism's role in new media started in 1993 during graduate work at the University of Missouri.

The Web as we know it today didn't exist and the "standard" in new media was CD-ROM. Pedro Meyer and Rick Smolan had produced their pioneering CDs "I Photograph to Remember" and "From Alice to Ocean."

The idea of combining the depth of documentary photography with National Public Radio-style audio reporting in an interactive format kept me awake at night.

I was totally absorbed with the possibilities.

Over the next two years I learned to write code and produced four CD-ROMs. Writing a string of text that actually did something when compiled was as magical to me as dropping a print in developer.

Through it all, my overarching goal has always been to expand photojournalism's role in new media storytelling. In many ways, the foundation of our visual philosophy at evolved from those early days at Missouri.

The opening screen of the 1995 Pictures of the Year CD-ROM project.

Finding an audience
At Missouri, we spent 10 months on the first Pictures of the Year CD-ROM and only pressed 1,000 copies. I was proud of the end product and excited about everything I learned in the process, but I was dissatisfied with the limited audience.

I remember thinking about the 10 million people who read National Geographic each month. I was in awe of quality of photography in the magazine and of its mass audience.
I wanted to be a part of something on that scale.

In 1994 I was at the Pictures of the Year awards ceremony watching one of the best photojournalists in the business discuss his award-winning portfolio. My professional purpose crystallized when someone asked the photojournalist how many of his 80 portfolio images had actually been published. The answer was only one, and that was overseas in Stern magazine.

How could it be that one of the best photojournalists in the world wasn't getting his work to the public? I felt this was a perfect example of what was wrong with photojournalism.

I decided that day to put down my camera and focus on publishing.

Working in the ideal environment
In 1995 I was finishing my degree at the University of Missouri while teaching Electronic Photojournalism and working in the New Media Lab on the second version of the POY CD-ROM. I was surrounded by great photojournalism students and passionate leaders like Bill Kuykendall, David Rees and Keith Mays. It was the ideal place to work with great photography and experiment with new ways of telling stories.

A screen from Torsten Kjellstrand's "Black
Farmers in Missouri's Bootheel."

I wanted to take advantage of the talented students at Missouri. I spent hours interviewing them about their images and about their passion for telling stories. I was the weird guy from photo floating around in the broadcast department's sound studio.

As I interviewed my friends about the nuances they aspired to communicate with their pictures, the power of audio to improve photojournalism hit me like a sonic boom.

Working with Torsten Kjellstrand (who later was named the 1995 Newspaper Photographer of the Year) during his master's project on "Black Farmers in Missouri's Bootheel" was a pivotal, ear-opening experience.

Torsten told me that he learned more about his story during an afternoon of interviewing farmers than he had in the first three weeks of shooting. Once I heard his audio track, I knew audio had to be central to new media projects.

Screenshot of MSNBC's first cover on July 15, 1996.
A software company invests in journalism
On July 15, 1995 I joined what was then an 11-person team at MSN News. We had the opportunity to start the publication from the ground up. A year later to the day we partnered with NBC and became

Photojournalism and Microsoft weren't exactly synonymous in 1995. Microsoft was working to create an online news service called MSN News and came to the University of Missouri's School of Journalism looking for editors. The opportunity to direct picture usage at an online publication capable of reaching millions of people was a perfect fit with my professional goals.

Prior to Sept. 11, 2001, was reaching 25 million unique readers a month. In September we served almost 50 million.

Our "circulation" is larger than any print publication. That's pretty amazing for a medium that's still in its infancy -- and for a publication that's not quite 6 years old. When you consider the fact that only half of all Americans have Internet access – and that even fewer people abroad are online -- the future growth potential is enormous.

Reaching an audience five times that of National Geographic was always an aspiration, but I never thought would grow as fast as it did. Unlike my experiences at Missouri, has the ability to showcase photojournalism to a mass audience. home page on February 26, 2002

Brian Storm is a passionate leader in the fields of photojournalism and new media. Storm has focused on the craft of visual storytelling as a photojournalist, an innovative picture editor, a technological pioneer and a champion of emerging and fair business practices.

From August 2002 through November 2004 Storm was Vice President of News, Multimedia & Assignment Services for Corbis, a digital media agency owned by Bill Gates. Based in New York, Storm was responsible for Corbis' global strategy for the production of news, sports and entertainment photography as well as the packaging and distribution of Corbis' industry leading historical collection. Storm led Corbis' efforts in the representation of world class photographers for assignment work ( with a focus on creating in-depth multimedia products. Storm directed the operation of Corbis' production tools and web site for current event and feature packages at

From June 1995 through August 2002 Storm was Director of Multimedia at, a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC News based in Redmond, WA where he was responsible for the audio, photography and video elements of the site. Storm created The Week in Pictures and Picture Stories to showcase visual journalism in new media.

Storm received his master's degree in photojournalism in 1995 from the University of Missouri where he ran the School of Journalism's New Media Lab, taught Electronic Photojournalism and produced CD-ROMs for the Pictures of the Year competition and the Missouri Photo Workshop.

Storm has presented ideas about the impact of new technology on journalism at dozens of universities and conferences around the world including the NPPA's Flying Short Course, The Atlanta Photojournalism Seminar, Poynter Institute's Visual Edge, The International Center of Photography, The Eddie Adams Workshop, Visa pour l'Image and The Stan Kalish Picture Editing Workshop. Storm is the chairperson of the NPPA's Telecommunications committee and also serves on the Business Practices committee.

Brian Storm can be reached at


Brian Storm
Director of Multimedia,

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