[Photo by picjumbo_com]
The Nieman Foundation posted this last month and it has me thinking.
With new innovative storytelling methods such as those used in this New York Times article, have the writing fundamentals of the past become obsolete?
The short answer is no.
Despite my issues with the current state of journalism, even I can see that the basics of effective storytelling are still relevant today. While it is easier to skip writing strong, newsworthy stories based on truth, the internet has also made it easier to find out what those storytelling basics are, judging by the number of YouTube videos on the subject.
The New York Times article mentioned earlier still starts with a hook to capture readers’ attention and contains content from interviews including written quotes and video recordings. There is also important data explained in an easy-to-digest way.
News organisations still expect their journalists to know how to find interesting stories and how to structure them. Even the embarrassingly unprofessional use of clickbait by many news sites shows that journalists know to write something that has readers interested from the beginning, in that case through headlines. Writing interesting stories that people actually want to read rather than skim over is more important than ever in this oversaturated market.
As for the heart of strong journalism (objective accuracy), that is still desired from news organisations such as the Associated Press. Media Moguls and newsreaders still want engaging, factual stories.
High-quality video, audio, GIFs and graphics are just new tools to tell strong stories. Knowing how to construct such stories is incredibly important in the saturated digital market.