What ochre.is

Ochre is a visual storytelling journal published by Media Innovation, a graduate program in digital journalism at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism. It’s written and edited by our students and staff. The site was originally created by Blue Chalk Media. Its sister site is Storybench.

Why ochre.is

Ochre was created as a place to discuss the changes we are experiencing in the visual storytelling industry every day and to reflect on what is working and what is not working.

Here’s what we know: The industry is in flux. New tools are rapidly bringing down the barriers to entry in creative fields. Traditional career paths are being sidelined by passion projects and startups.

Here’s what we’re not so sure about: What revenue models will emerge to make creative work sustainable? What will be the next technology to change how we communicate? Within this new climate of creative freedom, which projects will be revolutionary?

We know that if we have these questions, our colleagues in the industry must have them too. While we don’t have the answers, we do have the curiosity to explore and share what we learn.

Ochre.is our name

A lot of decisions went into the blog that you’re seeing today including the name its founders at Blue Chalk chose.

Ochre is a naturally-occurring pigment with a rich color—most commonly a deep yellow, ranging to an earthy orange, to red and purple. Its color is a warm, rich complement to blue.

Used by early humans in cave drawings, ochre is one of the first tools for visual communication. Cave paintings in the pigment, 17,000 years old, adorn the walls of the Lascaux Cave in France, and engravings in ochre date even further back to 77,000 years ago.

To us, Ochre represents the warm, rich storytelling community we are trying to cultivate and our inherent need to communicate with the world around us.

Ochre.is the head, the heart and the hands of visual storytelling.

The articles published on Ochre are divided into three categories represented by the head, the heart and the hands.

  • Industry

    The head of Ochre is the industry-shift in executing and monetizing nonfiction visual storytelling.
  • Inspiration

    The heart of Ochre is the inspiration that drives us to make visually-compelling work to share.
  • Tools

    The hands of Ochre are the new tools changing the way we tell stories visually.

Ochre.is yours too!

Ochre is a place for community conversation. It needs your voice.

Moved by one of the articles? Comment.

Have an idea for Ochre? Tell us about it.

Want to write for Ochre? Write to us.

Don’t keep Ochre to yourself. Find us on social media—Twitter and Facebook—and keep the conversation going.

Editorial Board

Dina Kraft Dina Kraft is a journalist, editor and educator. She co-directs the Media Innovation program, a new graduate program in digital journalism at Northeastern University. A long time foreign correspondent, she was formerly based in Jerusalem and Johannesburg for The Associated Press. She has taught feature writing at Harvard University and Boston University and has been a regular contributor to The New York Times, The Daily Telegraph and Haaretz. She was a 2012 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a 2015 Ochberg Fellow at the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.

Aleszu Bajak Aleszu Bajak teaches journalism, design, data visualization and programming at the Media Innovation program at Northeastern University. He is the editor of Storybench, an under the hood guide to digital storytelling, and covers science across the Americas for outlets like the Washington Post, Nature and Science. In 2013, he was awarded a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at M.I.T. where he explored the interface between journalists, designers and developers. Before becoming a freelance writer, he worked as a producer for the public radio show Science Friday.

Jeff Howe Jeff Howe directs the Media Innovation program at Northeastern, and is an assistant professor at Northeastern University. A longtime contributing editor at Wired magazine, he coined the term crowdsourcing in a 2006 article for that magazine. In 2008 he published a book with Random House that looked more deeply at the phenomenon of massive online collaboration. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University during the 2009-2010 academic year. He has written for the Washington Post, Newyorker.com, The New York Times, Time, Newsweek, and many other publications.

Lisa Jamhoury Blue Chalk Chief Digital Officer

Lisa Jamhoury is a communications strategist with a love for new technologies. She worked as Operations and Social Media Manager at MediaStorm, an award-winning multimedia studio, before joining Blue Chalk. Previously she led and implemented communications strategies at various nonprofit organizations including the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), Save the Children USA, the United Nations Population Fund and with the Women’s Refugee Commission. Having worked in places like Brazil, Tunisia, and Colombia, she is skilled at operating across cultures and time zones with varied media and technology requirements. When not in the office, Lisa is an aerial acrobatics instructor and performer.


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