Billed as a masterclass in digital storytelling by those who do it best, Inside The Story is a journalism ebook that wannabes shouldn’t pass up on. It’s an insightful and interesting collection of tips, beautifully presented.
Inside The Story is a collaborative effort by around two dozen of the best working multimedia journalists and storytellers, headed up by Kingston journalism lecturer and freelance multimedia journalist Adam Westbrook. Each contributor has a concise point to make in just a two hundred words, and this results in the whole thing having a certain pace to it. It’s not anything like any other textbook you’ve looked at, but you’ll learn just as much.
That said, sometimes the 200 words assigned to contributors just doesn’t feel like enough. There are concepts put across that aren’t allowed to develop, and ideas that I wanted to see fleshed out and explained in greater detail. At times I found myself wanting to turn the page and not have to leave behind the topic being discussed. However, the book doesn’t claim to be a conclusive guide, and the concise nature of submissions does allow ideas to spark in your own mind.
Inside The Story focuses on successfully telling a story through video by employing techniques for controlling a narrative. It isn’t a “how to shoot video”, and assumes some prior knowledge of equipment and the like. Despite not seeing myself as a video journalist I could easily apply the techniques and tips given outside of the medium of video. Ultimately, this ebook is about embracing a fantastical narrative and any journalist should recognise the value in these tips.
Westbrook is selling it as an ebook, and he has taken to the format. Some people’s idea of an ebook is just text on a screen, and a headache after a couple of hours of reading. That isn’t what this is, as each page is well designed and attractive. There are links built into every page for more info on the contributor and the options to jump around as you feel fit.
In keeping with the book’s style, we gave Adam 200 words to tell you why to buy the book:
“If you want to be a journalist then you have to take storytelling seriously. The two go hand-in-hand. Whether your medium is words, pictures, sound, design or data, you need to know how to grab your audience’s attention, lead them through a story, surprise them and spit them out the other end. And the inverted pyramid doesn’t quite cut it. I know from the courses I’ve done, the ones I teach and the industry books I’ve read, narrative is almost universally ignored.
This isn’t a basics book. It cuts straight to the action and asks ‘what does it take to tell award-winning stories?’ Ones that resonate with people and make them care? It’s a unique book too: I’ve asked 25 of the best journalists to each add their key piece of advice, so it’s the combined wisdom of some of the most experienced storytellers from around the world.
It’s easy to believe that LOLcats, tweets and quick hits are the future of journalism. But one thing is clear: the only way to make your journalism matter in a crowded world is through the hot pursuit of quality. Nothing else will do it for you.
Read the book, and you’ll find out how.”
Inside The Story is available for download here, for the price of £3.50, and all proceeds go to the Charity, Kiva. This is frankly a steal for getting tips from some of the best multimedia storytellers out there, and you get to feel good about where the money goes.
Easy to dip in and out of, informative, and genuinely inspiring, I’d strongly recommend wannabe hacks pick this up.
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After finishing my stint in student media, I couldn’t help but look