This piece – an alternative format itself – walks through some of the benefits to the audience of structuring content in different ways, notably through eye-tracking studies.
Storytelling formatsSubscribe to Updates Great digital storytelling can take many forms. Sometimes that’s through video or podcasting or with a foundation in data journalism. Here, we explore how other formats, using social platforms or your own channels, can bring writing to life, delight audiences, or simply be useful. Done well, these formats reach audiences on different platforms, with different needs, greatly expanding the impact of your work.
Big Picture A primer on alternative story forms
When should you consider a storytelling approach other than (or in addition to) the written word? Make decisions based on audience wants and needs, tailor to the platform and maximize opportunities to extend both reach and loyalty.
Plan Strategic considerations for alternative story forms
Take a look at a handful of common stories and imagine other ways to present those stories.
This piece explains why the impulse to simply write short for mobile gives the platform short shrift.
Fusion’s Head of Social Stories talks about how and why they repackage other planned content into curated pieces for Snapchat.
Though focused primarily on accountability stories, this piece walks through key assets and audience needs to consider when writing something in an alternative format, too.
A broad overview of the potential of immersive digital stories, with data surrounding their success with readers.
The highlights of a working paper on digital newsroom best practices, culled from interviews with editors at top news organizations.
Do Tips and tactics for using a wide variety of storytelling formats
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Grow your audience — including younger, more diverse readers — by using non-traditional social media platforms to promote stories and establish lines of communication where readers feel like they can interact with a person, not a company.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Use your reporting, digital, photography and video resources, and take advantage of the growing popularity of streaming platforms and mobile-friendly video. Present existing coverage in an audience-focused newscast that’s attractive to new sponsors.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As a statewide public media TV network, University of North Carolina TV, or UNC-TV, is building a new and larger audience by producing digital content while staying committed to its traditional broadcast audience.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: WFAE kicked off a community podcast competition that sparked hundreds of new podcast ideas, revealed issues important to the community and empowered residents of all ethnicities and backgrounds to share their stories.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: By focusing on news-writing basics, the public radio station in Kansas City turned compelling talk-show conversations into reader-friendly digital content.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Dallas Morning News is bringing in big audience numbers through browser push notifications.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: When planning arts coverage, ignore the calendar and ditch stories pegged to upcoming performances, art openings, festivals and events. Instead, focus on news, people and what the arts say about your city.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Seattle Times blended the best of its Pulitzer-winning breaking news practices into the reporting of a major enterprise project. The result was a mix of breaking news and in-depth explanatory stories that better served audiences.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Detroit Free Press found a better way to serve one of its key audience segments — people hungry for coverage of the auto industry — than running a standard serialized project.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Minneapolis Star Tribune turned its standard digital elections guide into a series of utilitarian features and tools to help voters make better decisions at the polls.
The BBC’s research and development unit did some experimentation into alternative storytelling formats. They developed 12 prototype story formats and tested them with real users.
Mobile devices are often an afterthought when it comes to storytelling, because journalists are working on large screens and not testing their work on phones. Here are some useful tips for publishing effective visual stories on mobile devices.
In this guide, NPR outlines when its newsroom uses Facebook Live, what kinds of videos it’s tried, tips for the production of the video, and guidelines for interacting with viewers.
At ONA 2013, API held a session on on how to tell a news story without writing an article. This piece walks through how to recreate the session in your own newsroom.
The BBC’s R&D lab shares 12 story formats used for news that “aren’t legacies from print or broadcast, that try to use the affordances of digital, that have been specifically designed for news and that are re-usable across stories and genres.”
A behind-the-scenes look at the Texas Tribune’s thinking behind “tweetstorms,” a reply-to-your-own tweet way to tell and tease a story on Twitter.
An executive producer at NowThis explains how they approach content for each major social media platform.
How to use Storify to curate social conversations around an event to create a social storyform.
Documents, speeches and transcripts can be useful show-your-work types of content for the audience, but annotations from reporters add context and value.
Quizzes inject fun and surprise into a topic that readers may think they know everything about.
Falling somewhere between an image and a video, the gif format is back.
Online video can be a challenge, but shooting live — and directly to a social audience — can lower the barrier.
Framed through one big immersive project, the digital team at this local TV station talks about how they approached the production.
An in-depth explanation of creating and using gifs to add fun and visual relevance to digital storytelling.
The “Stories” feature on these popular social platforms can be a low-cost investment for big success. Sumaiya Omar, a social media consultant, has this list of best practices for the platforms especially if you have a small budget.
The story of Greenland’s melting icy landscape relies heavily on data visualizations, but combining them with solid reporting and stunning photography takes this immersive digital piece to another level.