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How to Create the Most Original Digital Stories

06 September 2019
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How do we highlight a story about people and create the most original digital stories that keep up with the new media trends? We will receive the answers to these questions from our guest - Glenn Kates, freelance journalist and media expert from the USA. Glenn Kates is a former managing editor for digital at Current Time (Настоящее время), a Russian-language TV channel which, due to its content strategy, managed to attract an audience currently estimated at more than 2 million people on social media and about 40 million views every month.
 
Recently, at the invitation of the Independent Journalism Center, the expert met with journalists from the Republic of Moldova, and shared with them his vast experience.
 
Find a hero you can identify yourself with

Whenever you want to tell a story it is important to find a hero, a character. However, that latter shouldn’t be an ordinary individual, but rather an individual you can identify yourself with, who has the same issues that he/she knows how to overcome. For instance, the character has a low wage but manages to solve this issue, and you show how he/she does it.

As journalists, we often forget about ordinary individuals and instead tell stories about politicians, MPs. We need to open our eyes to find other kind of experiences.
 

 
Live-stream, as an information source

The broadcasts from various events and protests could be a way to identify good stories. Our editorial office used to watch all the live-streams and then we would identify the stories the readers might find interesting.

When creating such video materials, I recommend to start with the most interesting moments in order to capture the attention of the media consumer.
 
How to make an explainer video

There were situations when we had important topics but were unable to find matching stories. Thinking of ways to address them as simple as possible, we started to make explainer videos using an accessible language. It is especially important that the infographics are as clear as possible.

Almost all videos of this type are subtitled. Why? Well, Instagram or Facebook statistics show that more than 70% of the users watch these videos without sound. Hence, the subtitles are highly recommended.

How do you shoot the video, i.e. vertically or horizontally, is another detail which shouldn’t be disregarded. Many organizations prefer using vertical videos that are adapted for smartphone users. You should consider from the beginning which platform you want to make the video for.

Why is it important to publish stories

Social media is developing fast and we need to adapt to the trends. Stories are very popular on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook and many choose to watch them. When creating such materials, you need to think about the users – what might they find interesting? You should never post stories just for the sake of it. They need to tell something.

It’s highly important to interact with your audience. Personally, I’m very upset when I post stories that have many views but zero likes or interactions.

Also keep in mind that, for instance, on Instagram the stories from the pages that users interact most often with will appear first.
 
Don’t forget about newsletters

Sharing the organizations’ materials by newsletters is also very important. Many are using this tool but you need to consider the way in which you do it in order to reach more readers, possibly using weekly newsletters and sharing them on channels such as Viber, Telegram and other.