Storytelling Via Social and Other Forms of Media

It’s no secret that with social media comes some questions of legitimacy, as with any new information or stories though. In Kira Goldenberg’s The Genuine Article, she and Anthony De Rosa, Reuters’s social media editor, discuss the evolution of the news stories and the effect that such an evolution has had on its format. “…The news story has been Rip van Winkled—its form no longer fits the platforms people are using to read it (or, increasingly often, to not read it).” Goldenberg makes a valid suggestion: a new format, instead of “taking the print format and slapping it in a digital space,” according to the Reuters’s social media editor. Today, with so many news organizations and reporters using social media like Twitter to disseminate breaking news, stories often become entangled in comments, shares, links and memes.

CUNY’s Jeff Jarvis, Reuters and CJR’s Felix Salmon, and NYU’s Jay Rosen held a Twitter chat that inspired a post on Jarvis’s blog. Jarvis explained here that the background paragraph in the traditional news stories’ inverted pyramid no longer serves an effective purpose. Instead, the link has taken its place. “A link to an ongoing resource that is updated when necessary—not every time a related article is written. It is a resource a reader can explore at will, section by section to fill in knowledge, making it more personalized, efficient, and valuable for each reader.” And it’s true. The link serves such an incredible purpose for journalists and news organizations alike, as well as aspiring journalists like ourselves. Jarvis’s blog ( serves as a great platform to discuss online storytelling and its evolution into a new forms.

De Rosa proposes a new story form where there are regular updates in the form of short bursts and newest information would appear at the top and dynamically update, showing when a user has already seen particular content. Goldenberg compares this ideal to a, a new app that will allow users to follow stories and view the latest information. This seems ideal as a template, but in reality…how many users will adapt and download the app? It seems to me that users will continue to rely on other forms of media like Twitter regardless. In From Blog to Narrative: Josh Benton Throws Us a Curve, Roy Peter Clark discusses an evolution where, “we’ve seen in the 20th century the professionalization of journalism…the re-emergence of the amateur eyewitness, who uses everything from cell phone images to instant messaging to real-time blogging to get the word out.” Thus it seems, we should focus on reforming our habits.

Here Storify discusses how we might go about telling stories on social media and how we can begin to form such habits. The storify details ways in which users like Josh Stearns can verify sources on social media (Stearns listed his tips on his blog here.) Another detail the storify considers is Facebook privacy, asking the question, “what is and isn’t OK to curate?” Social media storytelling opens up the Pandora’s Box of licensing and copyright infringements and adds its own set of rules as well, which makes it extremely important for both new and experienced journalists to adhere to such standards. The storify shows that even the most experienced journalists make sure their ducks are in a row before clicking Post. If we can follow such tools and information (information that abounds on the Internet), there is no reason this new form of social media storytelling can not only succeed, but flourish.

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