Storytelling in 2013 — how will it look? Sound? How will it make us feel? Who’s doing it well, and how did they do it, and what can the rest of us learn from that work? We’re looking forward to finding out. Storyboard spent 2012 expanding our content and trying out new ways to engage readers. We’ll do more of the same this year as the storytelling arm of the Nieman Foundation’s overall mission to improve journalism.
First, a quick look at last year: Julia Barton started covering audio narratives for us, and we brought the New York Times’ Sean Patrick Farrell on board as our Viewfinder columnist, covering video journalism. We added a tips category to help you find craft guidance more quickly, and broadened our speaker series coverage by including the narrative nonfiction legend Buzz Bissinger and National Magazine Award winner Luke Dittrich, and Pulitzer-winning fiction writers Paul Harding and Junot Diaz, all visitors to Lippmann House, Nieman headquarters. We expanded our popular “Why’s this so good?” series by bringing in dozens of new writers, including Eli Sanders, Jennifer B. McDonald, Pam Colloff, Ann Friedman, Wesley Morris, Ben Yagoda and Peter Trachtenberg, who, along with other contributors, covered the work of everyone from Joan Didion and Nora Ephron to Dan Barry and Roy Blount Jr.
And now, some new columns and features to tell you about:
>Just One Question, by the stellar Tampa Bay Times and Grantland reporter Michael Kruse, poses a single question to a single writer, either about a specific piece of work or about reporting/writing in general, and delivers the answer. Kruse started JOQ on his personal blog and kindly agreed to let Storyboard adopt it.
>Liner Notes, by Sports on Earth writer Tommy Tomlinson, looks at the elements of narrative journalism via songs. His 2012 breakdown of “Ode to Billie Joe” was such a hit with readers, we’re developing his idea as a regular column. Narrative works best when you tune up all the senses, so get ready for a multilayered reading experience.
>Work the Problem allows writers and editors to ask top narrative journalists for help unraveling an issue. Maybe you’re grappling with a structural situation or wish you’d written better descriptions in your last piece, or maybe you take all the wrong notes, or maybe you’re wondering how to jump-start narrative culture in your newsroom – tell us your problem, we’ll try to help you solve it. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
>Annotation Tuesday! explores one writer’s winning story line by line, with Storyboard asking the questions and the author giving precise, in-text answers. The series recently had a popular Tumblr following and now moves to Storyboard, with upcoming annotations by the science writer Mary Roach, GQ’s Amy Wallace, National Magazine Award winner Ben Ehrenreich, Esquire’s Chris Jones, and more.
>How’d you find that story? Ever wonder where writers find certain great stories? We ask, they answer, with a little something extra. The sources may surprise you.
Don’t forget to stay connected by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook, and subscribing to our free newsletter. In the meantime, if you’d like to contribute to “Why’s this so good?” or to suggest a story for annotation, or to see coverage of certain narrative issues, ping us here.
Happy New Year!