- Know your audience
- Write for structure
- Master more than one story form
- Develop basic coding skills
- Create powerful visual narratives
- Use data to tell stories
- Use design methods for story coverage and package planning
- Adopt and master emerging story forms
- Consistently provide excellent metadata and social media engagement
- Embrace the limitations of mobile tools
- Get creative
How did I arrive at 11 smart habits?
Most of these come from ideas presented in an interview I recently gave with Lisa Geiger of Kircher-Burkhardt in Berlin. (Click to read the original interview).
I was having an especially bright discussion and I have arranged to use portions of my text transcribed from their German-language report.
The themes discussed include new reporting methods for smartphones, the challenges of culture change for newsroom leaders, and how journalists need to stop writing for other journalists and start writing for the Web.
Robb Montgomery: Smartphone as Newsroom
Example of a data story and writing for structure
|This is a story in which a reporter builds a timeline story in a spreadsheet. |
They enter tightly-worded text, links, metadata, media codes and data.
|When they post their 'article' they write more metadata so that viewers will know what the story is even before they click on it.|
This is what the news consumer sees.
So they have to become more of a media producer?
If I can help the life of my news consumer and fellow community member become richer, safer, healthier, self-reliant, better informed, and even entertained then I have won their loyalty and that is prize worth winning every year.
It is possible to use your communication power to bring personalized information, offers and solutions to our audiences. I know of a successful publisher in Moscow who did exactly this and has never looked back. They have their own mobile network, a suite of apps and many satisfied mobile consumers who are loyal to their brand.
A Case Study For Going Mobile
On Android, it is currently not possible to do all that in one app. When I was training Radio Free Europe reporters in Moscow, Tbilisi and Bishkek how to produce videos on their Samsungs we had to focus on creating the pieces that could be later edited on a laptop.
This next step for me was to lead the design effort for a custom app that will let RFE/RL reporters produce video packages. We produced wireframes and met with their developers. This stuff takes time, but now is the time to start.
Full disclosure: Kircher-Burkhardt is a bespoke media and design powerhouse in Berlin that employs the largest staff of information graphic journalists in Germany. They have donated their facilities to host training sessions for the Visual Editors non-profit on several occasions.