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This newsletter is designed for journalists to learn new storytelling skills and share what they learn along the way. So, if you like telling stories, subscribe now! Because this newsletter will look at everything from old examples of excellent storytelling to the latest tech updates affecting the journalism industry.

While the basic guidelines for good storytelling haven’t changed, the mediums are constantly evolving. Take the concept of a “hook,’ for example. A hook comes early in a written piece, in the lede, and it’s used to grab the audience’s attention.

Fish Fishing Hook - Free vector graphic on Pixabay

In 2002, a piece titled Rampaging rooster attacks girl opened with this sentence, “When they heard the screams, no one suspected the rooster.”

Like many great hooks, it leaves the reader with a question, which will only be answered later in the piece. In this case, the question is: who is screaming? The rooster?

But what does this “hook” look like now, in 2020, compared to how it looked in the early years of the internet? In many ways, it hasn’t changed. The aim is to grab the reader or watcher’s attention as quickly as possible and to keep their attention for at least a few minutes.

These days, though, you’ll often find video journalists talking more often about the “first 3 seconds” than the hook.

This shift comes from rapidly growing audiences on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, how audiences behave on these platforms, and how a view is counted. In the world of scrolling timelines, journalists know they have very little time to convince an audience that their video is worth watching before a person scrolls away. And platforms won’t even consider a video as having been “viewed” unless a user has spent at least 3 seconds watching it. So journalists are now incentivized to put the most attention grabbing piece of information, or visual, at the start of their video.

So a hook is still just as important as it always was in storytelling, but some of the ways we’re talking about hooks have changed. And hopefully this intro post is enough of a hook to get you to subscribe.

That’s what this newsletter is about: a deep dive into all storytelling and its mediums — from mobile journalism, to the use of augmented and virtual reality, writing, podcasting, live-streaming…

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