Unconference Session - How Do We Keep the "Story" in Alternate Story Form?

I’ve been struggling with something, and I’m asking for your help — to have a frank and honest discussion. There’s a lot of new tech out there: the newest copy and paste embed tool, programming library, etc. There’s a lot of pressure to use things and garner the most clicks.

I’m all about alternate story forms, but sometimes I wonder if we lose the narrative in our pieces. Too often, I wonder where’s the context? What more could we provide with unlimited time and resources? What can we provide with the time and resources we have?

Let’s talk about what works, what doesn’t. I’ll show some examples of techniques I’ve tried, and those I’ve seen in the wild. But really, I want to hear yours.

Most importantly, how do we make sure that, when giving people multiple entry points to a story so they can make their own discoveries, they still get something out of it? How do we provide guidance through storytelling without creating an absolute monarchy?

It’s a problem I wrestle with every day, and I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one. This is a question that affects the very core of how we do our jobs, today, next week and in decades to come.

Thinking about these kinds of issues in one’s dreams can’t be healthy. But if we talk it through and work together, maybe we’ll all sleep a bit better at night. And even change the industry while we’re at it. Let’s chat.

Michelle Minkoff does whatever needs doing to combine data, journalism and programming — and help others develop alternate story forms that fit content, a mission she has plowed away at for about three years. Her current playground is the Associated Press’ Washington, D.C., bureau, where she started working in August 2011. She is part of the AP’s Interactives department, which spans the globe from Phoenix to Bangkok, featuring artists, cartographers, developers, designers and video specialists. Every day, she straddles the line between working with that team and collaborating with reporters and editors that focus on policy and politics in D.C.