3 signs you're thinking about story centric news the wrong way

That news should be "story centric" has been common wisdom for quite some time, but every so often we at Mediasmiths see and hear things that make us realise there are still a lot of ingrained habits and perspectives out there. If you are trying to build a modern news organisation, these old ways of thinking risk standing in the way of creating the story centric working practices you need. 

Here are three signs you are thinking about story centric news the wrong way.

1. You are confusing article and story

Many times when we have conversations about story centric news and listen to people talk about how they work with their stories we realise that people may say story, but actually refer to individual articles or news packages. 

Of course, it sometimes makes sense to refer to an article as a story, but never in the context of story centric news. As we have previously pointed out in our post The Future Newsroom, the “story is no longer simply an article or a script. It is a collection of events that form a single narrative over time”.

In story centric news the articles and news packages are outputs from a story. These outputs are then published to multiple publication platforms, for example a rundown or social media platform, but the story itself is never published.

2. You are not tracking story performance

Once you fully understand the difference between the story and the articles or videos that it results in, you also need to change your thinking around how to track performance. Many organisations work more or less story centric, but still only measure clicks and engagement on individual articles and clips.

In cross platform and story centric news it is not enough to only measure the performance of an individual news item on a specific publication platform. Instead you need to measure the performance of the overall story across all platforms, preferably over time as the story arcs.

Without story centric analytics you can’t make informed decisions about how to plan story centric news.

3. You have rundowns for other things than just studio shows

If you still have a rundown for publishing to Facebook or your web platform then you are not story centric. Then you are rundown centric.