A recent NewsU Webinar built on what’s already known about alternative story forms: They attract readers and help them retain information. A successful ASF is, as the Webinar’s presenters emphasized, “smartly edited.”
This page from The News & Observer is an example of an alternative approach that works. (Try this .pdf for a better view.) The news is the return of state lawmakers for their next session. The event is cyclical, and it contains many themes and sub-plots. It also has the potential to be deadly dull.
In days gone by, a newspaper would have its political reporter write a 30-inch roundup (or “curtain raiser”) with a 10-inch sidebar. A copy editor would edit it and write a headline like this:
That doesn’t work anymore, if it ever did. Newspapers have to become smarter to help their readers be better informed. This package of stories, complete with a list and plenty of chunky text, does that. Readers can learn a lot about the General Assembly thanks to these smartly edited (and sharply designed) story forms.