Sample post for Storytelling

So remember me asking about “journalistic” writing a week ago? What defines journalistic writing?

  • Third person, not first
  • Objective, balanced, not opinion
  • Sources cited for information – an agency, document, person… do research
  • Inverted pyramid
  • Possibly narrative writing
  • Who, What, When, Where, Why
  • Verification and transparency
  • At least two interview sources – three is better – and ideally an “expert” and a “participant”
Colquitt’s dog Hank is out for his daily stroll around their apartment complex. (Photo credit: Abby Gutierrez)

What about “the parts” of a news story?

  • The Lead (inverted pyramid; who first; not the whole story, short)
  • Nut Graf (most important facts to understand what the story is about)
  • Facts: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and How)
  • Research and interviews to support your facts
  • Current state of affairs – where we are now
  • What’s next?

In this class, you’ll use two techniques you probably haven’t used before:

1) Magazine style writing and how they differ from newspapers:

  • Longer paragraphs (and longer articles);
  • Narrative storytelling (telling a complex story through the perspective of a person or two who are affected by it. The story starts by introducing a person rather than an issue;
  • “The Miller Chop” – an attention-getting writing technique that takes a short sentence or even a sentence fragment – and sets it apart as a single paragraph. It’s visually interesting and a powerful bit of text that spurs emotion.

A MISSING Miller Chop example


We’ll also use conversational language, like contractions and slang;

  • Use Action verbs (especially in headlines): Romp; Hobbled; Blitz; Blister; Pummel; Terrorize; Scorch; Hammer; Soar; Barrels; Scorned; Scathing; Eviscerate…

This action verb style, by the way, dates back a century. It was a hallmark of Time Magazine, founded in 1923 by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden. Hadden was the genius behind the writing and was legendary for these kinds of scathing verbs

2) Umbrella Leads A “big-picture” sentence or two that introduces your package of different stories on a single topic. This is really unique to Multimedia or Series storytelling.

So you may have an article, the photo essay, an audio or video story, a data element and some social media – but they’ll all be about the same topic. So, what you need is a sentence or two that captures what this whole package of stories is about. Here are some examples of umbrella leads:


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