Event Reports

“Don’t read me the news, tell me the story”

by Ivanina Georgieva

On 3 October 2020 the KAS Media Programme South East Europe organised the second edition of the “Adenauer Online Media Training”.

Journalism is a dynamic profession. Progressive developments within digital technologies are changing the consumption habits of media users and thus also the demands on the journalistic work. It is becoming more and more difficult to get and, above all, retain the attention of the audience. Storytelling is a core element of the journalistic work. “Every journalist, whether writing for print, television or digital media, should be a good storyteller”, explains Aleksandar Manasiev, trainer of the second edition of the “Adenauer Media Online Training”.

Aleksandar Manasiev, investigative journalist from North Macedonia and editor-in-chief of the online medium Vidi Vaka as well as trainer for digital and investigative journalism spoke about “Storytelling in the Digital Age”. He highlighted various aspects of professional, cross-platform storytelling in the context of the digital transformation of media and presented various tools for visual storytelling.

At the beginning he reflected on what constitutes good journalistic work and which points are essential as core elements of a good story.

“Do you consider yourself a news-maker or a storyteller?” In addition to the basic W questions that every journalistic article should be able to answer, the trainer also introduced storytelling elements that not only shed light on a topic, but also involve the reader or the viewer in the story.

In the second part of the training Aleksandar Manasiev presented the “multimedia story”. Using a combination of text, videos, photos, audio, graphics, cards or even a so-called gamification (a transfer of game elements into a context foreign to the game), stories can be narrated. There are no limits to creativity here. Anything is allowed that makes the story a unique experience for the reader and thus also an outstanding journalistic piece.

“Stories about people, told by people” or also known as “community-driven storytelling” was the focus of the third part of the training. “Today we are obsessed with political and economic topics”, says Aleksandar Manasiev. “Journalistic work often focuses on stories from the metropolitan areas. The more rural, smaller areas are hardly noticed.”

He concluded by presenting tools for visual storytelling. Professional storytelling is a great way to tell stories, but it is also very time consuming, expensive and often difficult to implement. This is why smaller editorial offices with limited resources sometimes find it difficult to keep up with current developments in multimedia storytelling. However, Aleksandar Manasiev sees this as something that can be handled with a little flexibility, goodwill and free tools: “We have to be flexible, have more confidence in ourselves, also take more time, be open to innovation and make the best out of our existing resources. A good story can also be told professionally with limited resources and tools.“

The KAS Media Programme South East Europe is planning further series of online trainings next month.