A revised course on alternative story forms

In 2008, I worked with Poynter’s NewsU to create a free course on alternative story forms. Now, we’ve worked together again, this time on a new version of that course. Thanks to Vicki Krueger and Vanessa Goodrum at NewsU for making that possible. A lot has changed since 2008: Digital news organizations have increased their use of […]

Smartly edited story forms

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.) […]

Further studies on alternative story forms

This blog is seeing a bump in traffic, thanks in part to the recently released NewsU course on alternative story forms. Thanks to everyone who has taken this free course and taken a moment to visit here. I blog about ASFs on occasion. In case you are reading here for the first time or just […]

Learn about alternative story forms — for free

My course on alternative story forms for NewsU, the e-learning program of The Poynter Institute, officially launches this week. “Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms” will help you learn how to tell stories in different and interesting ways. The course, intended for reporters and editors, will take you no more than two hours […]

Alternative story forms and copy editing

A recent post on my blog took note of a new job requirement for journalists: the ability to write and edit alternative story forms. Here’s how an ad for an entertainment editor at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution phrased it: The candidate takes responsibility for the whole package, including collaborating with other departments to ensure the best […]

Seeking story forms

I’m heading for St. Petersburg, Fla., next week to work on a module for Poynter Institute’s NewsU project. The module’s topic is alternative story forms. In preparation, I’m looking to add to my collection of these forms. They go by various names: Charticles (Gannett) Non-linear narratives (Poynter Institute) Storytelling devices, or STDs (Austin American-Statesman; link […]

More on story forms

It’s good to read that the recent Midwest meeting of ACES included a discussion of alternative story forms and what they mean for copy editing. I agree with the designer from Chicago on these recommendations: Content rules. Collaboration is essential. Words aren’t dead. Long live words! Copy editors can be newsroom leaders in deciding when […]

A story that’s set in agate and unfolds in a box

This weekend, I plan to attend a baseball-themed “block party” in Durham, North Carolina. The event is pegged to the upcoming all-star game between the International League and the Pacific League. One of the bands performing at the event is The Baseball Project, which includes two members of R.E.M. Their latest album includes an ode to the box […]

Copy editors are storytellers too

Pam Robinson at Words at Work has taken note of yet another article about the future of newspapers. This piece, posted on The Moderate Voice, mentions some ill-considered advice from an editor at a New Jersey newspaper: Restructure the newsroom. Half of the journalists are involved in the “processing” of news — copy editing, writing […]

Spring forward with an alternative story form

Alternative story forms are a good fit when you are covering a recurring event or presenting a “teachable moment” to readers. The switch to daylight saving time is one of those opportunities. That’s why this story from The News & Observer misses the mark. It’s told and presented in a traditional way even though the […]