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Digiday MAX WILLENS

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This 15-minute video explains modern media

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The Washington Post Paul Waldman

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Twitter Adam Rothberg

Publisher cancels Milo Yiannopoulos' book

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CJR Lyz Lenz

The new boss of Texas Monthly is pulling back on longform

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Monday Note Frederic Filloux

How Facebook and Google could disrupt the subscription model for news

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The Washington Post Paul Farhi

Has the White House press office’s silence become a weapon in its war on the media?

"An eye-opening sentence has appeared in several important news stories about the Trump administration in recent days: 'The White House did not respond to requests for comment.'"

Steve Buttry's blog Steve Buttry

Steve Buttry has died

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Om Malik's blog Om Malik

How is The New York Times really doing?

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Columbia Journalism Review Shelley Hepworth

Leaders of union drive among those laid off at Slate

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Paul Farhi and Manuel Roig-Franzia The Washington Post

How will Breitbart fit into the Trump White House?

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The death of the click

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Vanity Fair Graydon Carter

Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter on the Trump administration

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The Washington Post Amanda Erickson

A brief history of things called "enemy of the people"

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In case you missed it

Digiday MAX WILLENS

Publishers are on a major health kick

"After a years-long pursuit of scaling an audience, many publishers are now launching vertical sites, which has resulted in several dedicated to health and wellness."

Recode PETER KAFKA

This 15-minute video explains modern media

"Quiz time: What do Netflix, Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb all have in common?"

The Washington Post Paul Waldman

How Trump’s obsession with the media endangers his presidency — and all of us

"...Cable, and Fox News in particular, is setting the president’s mental agenda."

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Training

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Coffee Break Course

A two-minute course from News University

6 alternative story forms that can stand alone

Standalone alternative story forms (ASF) do just what their name implies: They stand alone as independent stories, with no traditional story to accompany them. Like a standalone photo or graphic, the standalone ASF needs to be a complete story. It might be all the reader will see about the topic, particularly in print media.

Typically, a standalone ASF begins with some introductory text. This is similar to the lead on a news story, but it can be more conversational in tone. Direct address, such as, "Here's what you need to know," often works well.

Many standalone ASFs are collections of bite-size nuggets of information. Some journalists call these pieces "chunky text." The key to a successful ASF is making all those bite-size nuggets add up to something nutritious for the reader.

Here are some examples:

  • Interview: This form is a Q&A with a newsmaker. Similar to a transcript, it allows the reader to see the give-and-take between a reporter and source.
  • Breakdown: This story form breaks down stories by theme. What happened? Who was involved? What's next? They are useful for any sort of hard news, and they can preview an event or recap one. To make them effective, consider the news values of who, what, when, why, where and how. They will help you root out the themes in the story.
  • FAQ: These are perfect for those “teachable moments” about topics in the news. A good FAQ anticipates readers’ questions — and in the order they would ask them. Often, the nugget for the next question is in the previous answer.
  • Vignette: This form is a brief description of a person, place or thing. It's useful for giving background and context.
  • Grid: Similar to tabular charts, grids are a good way to compare competing items to highlight similarities and differences. Sometimes called a "tale of the tape," a grid needs to use parallel structure in the writing and presentation.
  • Comic Panels: In a news setting, consider the comic as an illustrated FAQ. Each panel can be used to explain a single concept. As a whole, the comic then informs the reader fully on a complicated topic.

Taken from Beyond the Inverted Pyramid: Creating Alternative Story Forms, a self-directed course by Andy Bechtel at Poynter NewsU.

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