Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

A new market for journalists: who else needs good storytelling?

Posted in Next Generation Journalist by Adam Westbrook on May 13, 2010

There’s less than a week to go until Next Generation Journalist is available to download. From tomorrow, you’ll be able to get a preview of more of the new ways to make money in journalism on or by signing up here.

04. storytelling for the commercial sector

In the second chapter of Next Generation Journalist I will give a quick series of questions to ask yourself before reading on. The questions are designed to get you to root out exactly what you love about journalism so much. It’s different for every person but it’s vital to the Next Generation Journalist if you want to pursue a new and exciting career path.

Some of them, like this one, aren’t directly about reporting hard news. But I think they’re still worth including, because not every one of us went into journalism to report hard news right? For some of us, it’s about analysing data and making complicated things simple for everyone to understand; for some it’s about getting to meet the rich and famous; and for others it’s about telling stories.

If you dig telling stories, you’ll like this idea.

It’s about converting your expertise in storytelling, whether in print or multimedia to offer content for small businesses which brings them more customers. In return, they’ll pay you for it.

It’s all about the power of the story. I’ve long banged on about storytelling on this blog as well as to journalism students across the UK. It is, in my humble opinion, one of the most powerful, but undervalued crafts in journalism. A good story well told grabs people by the collar and shakes them; it can change their view of the world, make them laugh and make them cry.  Most importantly, stories compel people to action, which is why they’re of value to businesses.

Imagine if you took the power of storytelling and sold it to different industries?

Storytelling for the commercial sector…

  • lets you practice and hone your storytelling and multimedia production skills
  • will help you develop story ideas and contacts to pursue as a journalist
  • could pay you more than editorial clients (depending on how much you’re willing to charge!)
  • is a virtually untapped niche, with countless businesses as potential customers

Here’s how it works: you set up a cheap web based business offering your multimedia storytelling skills to small businesses (the book contains a list of suggested ones); your website convinces them about how a well told story can compel their customers to action (ie buying their product). You offer to do a few short videos for friends or associates for free to build up a decent portfolio. Then you use that start approaching and bringing in clients.

This option might appeal to you, but I understand, it might also repel you. This isn’t journalism after all is it? Well in Next Generation Journalist: 10 New Ways to Make Money in Journalism I’ll show you how it can be part of a wider, bigger income, with the concept of the Portfolio Career.

Click here to find out more!