I like the term “scrollytelling” : it is one of about 12 different styles of news presentation listed on this piece.
It’s all about lean forward, lean back for consumers of information today. In many cases, member of the audience may use two or three different devices to get information during the course of a day: the phone, the computer, the tablet, for example.
Yet, the way we present news stories has not changed much since those styles were created for print. Tristan Ferne, of BBC, has written a smart and informative piece that I recommend.
The 800-word article is still the dominant form of online news from most publishers. This largely seems to be a legacy from printed newspapers and to a lesser extent this is true for online news video online too, with much of it still produced in traditional made-for-TV formats albeit shorter.
But back in 2014 research from Quartz found that “the place between 500 and 800 words is the place you don’t want to be”. They found that this length lacked both the focus and share-ability of a short piece and the pay-off of a longer piece. This length of article isn’t distinctive and is often duplicative.
So Ferne offers a catalog of story forms, many of them which we have written about in TheMarioBlog.
- Short & vertical video; often with captions, pioneered by AJ+ and NowThis
- Horizontal *Stories; swipeable cards like Snapchat Stories and its clones
- Longform scrollytelling; evolved from the original NY Times Snowfall
- Structured news; like the original Circa or the reusable cards at Vox.com
- Live blogs; frequently used for big events
- Listicles; like Buzzfeed
- Newsletters and briefings; which seem to be on trend right now
- Timelines; which I expected to be more common
- Bots and chat; from the chat-styled Qz app to the many attempts to deliver news within chat apps
- Personalised; which typically is used to filter the choice of stories, rather than the story itself
- Data visualisation; from graphs to interactives
- VR and AR
Linear visual storytelling–or is it “scrollytelling”?
One of our preferred ways of presenting information for mobile is linear visual storytelling, and on this list, such treatments for narrative/visual assets appear under the category of Longform scrollytelling.
Except that not all linear visual stories are long necessarily, and I would put Snowfall in the category of the multi media story, but I like the use of the term “scrollytelling”, because that is exactly one of the key elements in presenting a story in a linear format.
I do recommend this piece, especially for academics teaching reporting/editing/design courses.
Related reading about linear visual storytelling
Digital Media North America
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