Magazine article The Quill

Telling Stories in Different Ways

Magazine article The Quill

Telling Stories in Different Ways

Article excerpt

When I first learned to report, my teachers and editors taught me to pound my words into inverted pyramids. For a twist, they showed me how to write feature stories with descriptive or anecdotal leads. Many of us have relied on these classic forms over the years, but some journalists are using new media to tell their stories in entirely different and effective ways, as these examples show.


The Bakersfield Californian Web site has a terrific feature called "Lost Treasures." Staff writer Jeff Nachtigal has profiled 23 of Bakersfield's old hot spots, the places all the old-timers remember such as the skating rink, pancake house, billiard hall and drive-in movie theater.

Using Flash, he links the stories, audio reminiscences and photos of the places onto a map of Bakersfield dotted with signs or pictures from each location. Web Editor Davin McHenry helped put the whole package together. It's a great way to tour through the city's past and a wonderful way to present these stories.

Check it out:


NPR has constructed a timeline that uses numbers to tell a story. "The Toll of War" shows the number of U.S. troop fatalities for each month since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. When you click on a month, you can see a photo and synopsis ofthat month's news, hear an audio excerpt from NPR covering those events or go to a full NPR story.

If you click on another tab, you'll see a chart showing different estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians and security forces that have died during the fighting. When you click on each b estimate, you can see the methodology that was used.

Read it: tollofvvarmain.html

Embedded documents

In "A case of Identity," Scan Robinson of the Tacoma News Tribune leads us on a detective chase through the world of identify theft. In addition to the tight writing, I love how this story's Web package lists the cast of characters and offers resources people can use if their own identity is swiped. …

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