In Pittsburgh this summer, I conducted a session on alternative story forms. I defined the term as a variety of techniques used to present information to

Micheal Anas

readers in non-traditional, always non-narrative ways.

A point of emphasis with non-linear storytelling is that there are dozens of approaches and no one right way. Editors are only limited by their creativity.

To that end, I asked editors there to talk about their work, and I’m pleased to share some examples with you here.

I’d love for this to be just the starting point to showcase other editors’ work in this area, especially those from smaller shops. What many of you are doing is terrific, and I know your colleagues would appreciate the opportunity to learn from you.

So, please e-mail me at with PDFs of any examples you feel worthy of inclusion here. Adding explanatory comments would be great. We’ll post them as they come for upcoming newsletters.

Download a PDF copy of the handbook from the 2009 APSE Convention in Pittsburgh.

Scott Monserud

Scott Monserud

From Scott Monserud, Denver Post:

"Most are fairly simple and ran on our Inside Sports package on Thursdays. The goal of the package is to show how sports works, or how someone does something. A monthly graphic is one component of the rotating feature.

Most papers, whatever size, could do these.

"We decide a concept, try to make it timely (an event coming to town, a player who is hot, etc.), then have a reporter work with a graphic artist to supply the information to be illustrated."

View PDFs:
Tackling a problem
How to stop a penalty kick
Polo primer
Hammer time (How to throw a hammer)
Smooth operator (Chauncey Billups)
Muscle machine
Glove, American style

Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett

From Josh Barnett, Philadelphia Daily News:

■ NBA Draft Meter: Our guys agree on the 7-8 most likely players to be the Sixers’ No. 1 pick and then evaluate each with a blurb and rate their chance of being the guy from 1 to 10. We also do things for the Eagles in the NFL draft.

■ Draft prospects: We usually have written stories about the local players in the draft somewhere along the process so the day before or day of the draft, we do a breakdown, including a scout’s take, where they are expected to be picked, strengths and weaknesses and key numbers, etc. View the PDF.

■ Talking points: This has become a strong element for us, with every Eagles game or postseason game – five things that people are talking about after the game. We used to do a litany of Did You Notice, but thought this was better. View the PDF.

■ NFL team needs: We started this a few years ago because we have a very savvy NFL audience. It is a big graphic that ranks each team’s needs on scale of 1 to 5, allowing us to provide some perspective on the most crucial needs, rather than just making a list without providing any weight to each position. View the PDF.