Agent of change

Implementing a new style for concise story telling devices meant leading a diverse team to change a culture away from “words first.”

In 2005 a newspaper goal was to improve readership by incorporating more non-narrative storytelling devices – visual breakouts, summaries, bulleted lists and other reader-friendly chunks of information.

I was appointed leader of a newsroom committee of my peers and direct reports. I lead brainstorming sessions, prepared short-range and long-range goals, and worked with a diverse and strong-minded committee to develop concrete steps toward success.

My team created samples and how-to guides. We coined consistent names and reinforced the new processes with posters and training sessions. Today, the “Story So Far,” “Did box” and “By the numbers” are part of the newsroom lexicon and storytelling toolbox.

Below is a copy of the handout that my group generated to give writers, designers and editors specific examples to follow.

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