Hey! Come over here. Let me tell you a story.

By Katrina McLachlan

It’s irresistible, isn’t it?

Human beings are drawn to stories. When we share our experiences through stories, we pull others towards us. We find common ground. Stories let us laugh, cry and learn together.

Stories help us know ourselves. Stories let us know each other. Stories forge connections and build communities.

Whatever your story, others want to hear it. Whatever your community, there are stories waiting to burst out from it. Whatever your business, stories tell the world what you stand for.

Anyone who has ever worked in a newsroom understands the passion and love for the craft of storytelling that drives journalists and photographers to work to deliver the information we all read, watch, listen to and share.

Traditional journalism relied on trained professionals tracking down stories of perceived interest, and interpreting and recreating them for general consumption. But now things are different.

Advances in digital technology continue to dramatically affect where, when and how stories are consumed and engaged with. The audience is in the driver’s seat, searching for information when and where they
 want it and when they find something they like they share it with their own social or professional networks.

The possibilities for story creation and publishing are endless but digital media means the assets required to tell those stories well have significantly changed.

Storytelling is far more than just words – it is pictures, sound and video. It is hyperlinks, social media posts, streaming video and SEO. It is an endless list of possibilities that might seem impossible to achieve – unless of course you know how!

The best multimedia stories are obviously multi dimensional. They include action for video, a theme that can be illustrated with a graphic or an illustration, strong quotes for video or audio, and/or powerful emotions for still photos and audio.

They also are the kinds of stories where you can use the strengths of each medium to tell the story in a way that draws the reader – who is most likely consuming the story on a small screen – into the story experience.

Multimedia stories are nonlinear. You engage readers by letting them choose which elements to enjoy and when to enjoy them.

Being able to create stories through text, audio, graphics, animation, video, and photographs to convey information is a highly valued skill and it is heaps of fun! As a society the way we shape and tell our stories determines our future and digital storytelling provides the opportunity for everyone to create and contribute. Everyone has stories. Stories come from a person’s past or from their imagination. Some can be funny, some can be painful, but all are personal. The opportunities are endless and irresistible.

Come on – tell me a story!


Katrina McLachlan has 25 years experience as a working journalist and editor and 15 years as a journalism educator at the University of South Australia. Katrina is passionate about news and storytelling and she works hard to stay up to date with the latest industry tools and skills needed to ensure success in the age of digital storytelling. Katrina has been a judge of the South Australian Media Awards for six years and a member of many professional organisations, so she’s always learning from the best in the industry. The culmination of all her experience and knowledge has led her to establish an innovative and entrepreneurial digital journalism site and business two years ago – Stories Well Told.

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