Unfolding Stories

Unfolding Stories

Organisation: The Vocal (Australia)

Publication Date: 03/10/2017


How do we better engage a Gen Z audience who have never read a newspaper and who have no trust in mainstream traditional media? What if we had multiple versions of the same story? From as short as a 12-word tweet, to a 200-word brief, to an 800-word explainer, to a 2,000-word feature? What if the reader consumed stories on their terms? Research shows they want better design, more visuals, more colour. They're accustomed to swiping behaviour. Our prototype is a dynamic story packaging feature where the story gradually unfolds as you swipe, prompting you to help the publisher complete the coverage by telling them what else you want from this news item or issue. Unfolding Stories starts with an image and the story told in 12 words - "The Hemingway". The reader swipes to reveal another story card - "The Swippet" - a digestible swiping snippet of the news or issue to find out what happened in under 200 words. Need to know more? Swipe to find a medium story format around 600 words (name TBC - help us name it!) on the same issue with more context and facts. At this point they’re engaged and informed. Now it’s time for them to help you finish the coverage by either subscribing for more updates OR choose your own content adventure, with a content button that prompts you to tell the publisher what you want to see next. Click and you get different options depending on the story - like requesting a long read, more multimedia video or interactive maps, or to give story tips. Maybe they just want more analysis or a variety of opinions from progressives and conservatives. Maybe they’re motivated to take action so they can ask for a story on solutions journalism, or they just want a funny light hearted story for some relief. Once they’ve submitted their request, they can also subscribe for updates on the story via mobile alerts, completing the loop. It has the potential to increase on the most important engagement metrics like time on site, returning visitors with mobile alerts, more shares because you're contributing to the story, wins back trust since it starts with objectivity and then expands into other, more subjective content types, you’re already creating so many articles every single day and this just makes sure you’re doing it in a smart way with a guaranteed audience. You’ll save time and resources in the news room. Mobile alerts are a direct way to contact readers on a story per story basis, making us less reliant on Facebook. User friendly story discovery system all within the feature, again relying less on pushing every single story on Facebook. For monetisation, there's an opportunity to weave creative, fun, relevant, socially conscious, or even gamefied ads in seamlessly with each swipe screen, which could get around ad blockers.

Technologies used for this project:

- Wordpress - Javascript - CSS - Push notifications
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