Week 9: Adding value to your stories

There are plenty of options for making your story stand out. Picture: otherthings/CC/flickr

By MARK GATELY

All the bells and whistles

Finding a great story and writing it beautifully isn’t enough these days – for your readers or the people who employ you.

It’s more important than ever to both get someone’s attention and keep them engaged.

We do this in the digital world by embedding content in our stories that adds to the user experience. These can include:

  • Videos – in my experience the No.1 choice for major websites
  • Great photos or photo galleries
  • Graphics
  • Podcasts or audio files
  • Polls or surveys
  • Breakout quotes
  • Hyperlinks to related stories or websites

Let’s take a look at them.

Videos

YouTube is a one-stop shop for suitable videos for a wide range of stories. But don’t stop there – if you have access to alternative sources that won’t breach copyright, or are able to obtain permission from the rights holder, go for it.

Or you can just make your own!

Pictures

Once again, taking your own is an awesome option. If you are a photographer that also opens up the option of galleries and photo essays. The subject of your story is another great source of images and of course there’s Creative Commons.

Graphics

The likes of charts, polls, infographics, memes and statistics perform both informational and design roles in your story. There are a number of different apps and programs but the big player is Canva. And don’t forget the huge list of tools Verity included in the GNP blog.

Audio

Your options here include audio files or full-blown podcasts (Podbean is a well-reviewed free app while Siteground and Bluehost are recommended as more fully featured budget-priced options). WordPress makes it simple to embed not just these but all sorts of files.

Polls and surveys

These are great way to not just illustrate a story but generate stories themselves when seeded on social media. There are a number of free apps including Survey Monkey or Google Surveys.

Breakout quotes

Also known as pull quotes. There is a pull quotes feature in the text section in the full blocks menu in WordPress.

ASSESSMENT TASK

The first submission of six pieces of content for your News Conference portfolio is due this week. Please place any content you have created including Off Campus stories, Good News Project material and suitable content produced as weekly tasks in the Final Assessments folder.

Then compile a list of that content plus any other contenders including pieces you are working on, story ideas and content from other classes which might be repurposed and put that in your weekly folder.

Don’t be afraid to try something different. Not every story has to be a news story with interviews, you can do pop culture explainers or ratings stories that spark debate.

REMEMBER

Collaboration is an option for producing content – either with another journalism student on a written piece (or one providing visual content) or with someone from another stream.

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