A basic misconception and a question that is always likely to come up at the end of any of my presentations is if there is any room in today’s environment for the long narrative. Of course! The same readers who crave the snippets at certain times of the day, do lean back to read a good , longer story. Here is an example.
This is definitely the type of story that belongs in a weekend newspaper, when readers are more likely to lean back and enjoy what was a 3-page story in the print edition of The New York Times, and sizable online as well.
Because the story of Shannon Mulcahy, a female steelworker whose fortunes change dramatically when her place of work moves to Mexico, appeared on a Sunday (Oct. 15), I was able to read the story in its entirety on the printed edition of the Times that arrives at my doorstep in New York around 5:30 in the morning each Sunday.
As I finished reading the piece in print, I was curious to see how the Times’ editors had handled such a long story with so many photographs and graphics in their online edition.
While the treatment of the story online was not strictly done in a linear format, with the narrative leading to the visual assets of the story, it was, nonetheless, treated the way it is easier to consume a long narrative online or on mobile: the text and the images were mixed. There was no photo gallery here. Instead, the editors kept weaving the narrative and the images, allowing for very ease of continuity as one read the story.
An excellent example for how to treat long narratives.
And a reminder that in today’s world of constant updates and short summaries for the lean forward moments of our day, there is a definite, special place for a long narrative.
It must be a good story, but that was always the same long before we even thought of digital storytelling.
Have a good story? Run it as long as you have to tell it well.
The Times’ piece is wonderful testimony.
If you would like to find out more about our workshops for digital transformation, email me: email@example.com
I will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information. Our workshops are offered in both English and Spanish.
This two-day event, organized jointly by WAN-IFRA and the News Media Alliance (NMA), will provide a unique opportunity for North American news media executives to hear and discuss digital revenue strategyfrom the world’s most advanced media companies.
I will be one of the speakers for this conference in New York City.
Oct. 19, WAN IFRA Digital Media North America, New York City
Nov. 16-19, WAN IFRA Latin America, Buenos Aires, Argentina