Wick Communications

Using non-narrative forms

In Ideas on March 4, 2016 at 8:42 am
A poor photograph of a nice layout.

A poor photograph of a nice layout.

Last week, I mentioned a presentation from a Gatehouse Media executive at the recent Mega Conference of journalism associations. He offered several suggestions for engaging readers. I think he was speaking particularly about mobile, but his tips really would work for any platform, including the newspaper.

Perhaps his best suggestion is to remember that not every story is best told by 15 inches of copy and a single photo.

Well, I wanted to point out the way the Havasu News Herald told a recent story with all the information, but without all those unnecessary words. Look how writer Haley Walters and editor Brandon Bowers showed rather than told how Lake Havasu City changed its development code. …

The newspaper identified six major changes – to parking, landscaping and other requirements – and gave us a couple of sentences about each. For each one, there is a thumbnail photo. (For some reason, those photos are not available online, which is a missed opportunity, especially on mobile.) The package, which takes up four columns of the front page on Feb. 10, also includes a “by the numbers” box, a paragraph telling readers how to learn more and how to get involved. None of it is in the form of a story, but rather bite-sized bundles of information. All of it is overlayed on a blueprint look appropriate to a story on development issues.

This is a perfect example of how to tell a municipal story without all that jargon, that is easy to understand and digest, and creates a splash across platforms.

More of this, please.

Clay

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