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Transcript of Cross-Media Storytelling
Why should we write/produce narrative stories ?
Journalists as modern day storytellers
“Narrative writers can bring meaning to
journalism.” (Jon Franklin)
What is storytelling?
Where and how to find your story
"Not enough gets said about the importance of abandoning crap." (Ira Glass)
Pitfalls of narrative journalism
Fact vs. fiction corner stone principles
(by Roy Peter Clarke)
1. Do not add. Do not deceive.
2. Be unobtrusive
3. Avoid adding anonymous sources except in case where it is absolutely needed
4. Never put something in your story that wasn't checked out
Example: Howard Berkles on National Public Radio edited a tape so that the person who was interviewed didn't stutter like he did in real life.
Q: Where does deception start?
How does a good story work? - Techniques
1. What is a good story? //
What is storytelling?
2. Storytelling techniques
2.1. Plot structures
2.2. Character building
2.3. Narrative voice
3. Audiovisual storytelling
4. Where and how to find your story
6. Cross-media storytelling // new platforms
7. Links, links, links
8. Your task for the week
In order to write a good story, you will need to understand, how a good story is structured... and then play with that.
How is a good plot?
How do you build sympathetic characters?
How can you utilize a narrative voice that draws the audience in?
Discuss your pieces in groups of 3-4. What makes your piece extraordinary in terms of storytelling?
Storytelling in audio(visual) media
This way of storytelling is an ideal type - use the time to explore them now - there won't be much time in the newsroom
Fastened news cycles call for narrative stories as a counterweight
Powerful storytelling is a unique feature, as an individual journalistic skill but in terms of branding your newspaper
Remember: We do no longer sell habit but excitement
The inverted pyramid:
Makes good endings impossible!
Good endings could be:
A vividly drawn scene
A memorable anecdote that clarifies the main point of the story
A telling detail that symbolizes something larger than itself or points toward the future
An opinion paragraph
Don't end with
too often. You are the writer you should have the last word.
(ending fits beginning) but don't do that too often either
Think of your
story as a film
: The ending might then be a peek into the future. (Godzilla example)
Try and write/conceptualize the
: It is your destination.
Finding a great story might take longer than actually producing it
set aside enough time in your work routine to look for new and interesting stories
Don’t be afraid to kill a story
Find out the
of your story: Fear, hate, love, betrayal, faith, shame, pain?
: The overall tone/moral/outcome of the story
Take your time: A narrative doesn't come to you in 24hrs – let your observations sink and think about them. Go for a walk. Shut down your laptop. Take a hot bath...
PS: What would you write/produce if you were not afraid of your editor?
(not always a conflict):
Something that forces the character to exert effort/ undergo a transformation
Don't force form upon function: If there is no character in your story that encounters a problem/undergoes a transformation don't write a narrative piece!
How to build up character
Inner world against outside reality (gays in Jordan, NSA/whistleblower)
Description alone isn't helpful – understand your subject, build a relationship with him/her
Writer as character
First person singular
(Deneen L. Brown, black middle class in Washington D.C.)
Construct yourself as a character, dig deeper than stereotypes
Literature is not a place for conformists
Needs conflicts such as every good story
Be curious about yourself:
“Things that I would not tell anyone you can go down to the bookshop and find out” (Michel de Montaigne)
These techniques are limited to print and less applicable in audio/video storytelling
obviously no visual devices, but the possibility of dragging the listeners in with audio elements → create a “driveway moment”
Develop a feeling for noises, sounds and
while you’re in the field
don’t be afraid of silences
be yourself when telling the story, don’t imitate anyone, interactions!
Storytelling in audio(visual) media - Plot Structure
a pattern of actions leading from one to another. Think about: do you want to build suspension or jump right into action?
“Moment of reflexion”:
Why are we telling you this anecdote/story? What’s the bigger theme behind it? Think about: where to put this? A good story is an interplay between sequential and reflective elements
constantly raise questions that you will answer throughout your story, keep throwing out questions out question that you can answer along the way
Crossmedia Storytelling - the future of storytelling?
Content should be complementary
Think of what parts of the story would be best for what medium?
new platforms for storytelling: storyful, twitter, games
Go over your example pieces again. Do you still consider them good pieces of storytelling? Why? How would the story transform into another type of media?
high emotional valence
(crime, accidents, babies, wars...) vs.
low emotional valence
(new taxation law)
Low emotional valence stories harder to be transformed into narrative
High emotional valence tends towards dramatic narrative, low towards summary narrative and a "technical" story structure
Links, links, and more links
- Telling True Stories: http://www.amazon.de/Telling-True-Stories-Nonfiction-Foundation/dp/0452287553/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390758980&sr=8-1&keywords=telling+true+stories
- Ira Glass on Storytelling: http://www.you tube.com/watch?v=loxJ3FtCJJA
GREAT STORYTELLING EXAMPLES IN RADIO:
- This American Life: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/
- HowSound: http://howsound.org/
- The Broadcast Clock: https://soundcloud.com/roman-mars/99-invisible-88-the-broadcast
- She Sees Your Every Move: http://www.wnyc.org/radio/#/ondemand/162548
STORYTELLING WORKSHOPS & CO
- useful apps: http://ijnet.org/stories/top-apps-journalists-shooting-video-mobile
- Transom: http://transom.org/
- Nieman Storyboard: http://www.niemanstoryboard.org/
Narratives creates a
intellectual and emotional
experience for the reader.
BUT: From your perspective you are describing an event, creating a record, picturing a scene
"Technical" versus "natural"
structure (Constantin Seibt: "The Suit")
Form groups of 3 or 4 and write/produce a story of your own! You can do the research together, but write/produce a story each.
Next workshop/feedback date(s): Jan 30 & Feb 5. Good luck!
If you have any questions and/or require help, don't hesitate to contact us!