Posted by: structureofnews | September 5, 2017

New Ways of Storytelling


Not all new ways of telling stories need to be digital, interactive or involve technology.

Take a look at how the PCIJ Storytelling Project turned the story of Kian Delos Santos, a 17-year-old killed in the Philippines’ brutal war on drugs, into a book designed in the form of a children’s book, complete with evocative illustrations. It’s posted as an album on Facebook.

As Sheila Coronel (full disclosure – my partner) notes in a post on Medium:

Children’s books rarely deal with current events or with topics as dark as the killing of minors in the war on drugs. This project presented an opportunity to tell (or retell) Kian’s story in a new way, to audiences that may have been overwhelmed by—or inured to—the news. It is also an effort to reach out to younger readers.

This story and the accompanying artwork attempt to bring Kian to life as a 17-year-old, with hopes and dreams like so many others.

There’s been a constant drumbeat of coverage of the thousands of killings in the drug war – including, I’d add, some excellent work by Reuters, here, here and here – but that also means it can be hard for readers to maintain focus or interest in such a long-running saga.

Shifting the way the story is told – changing readers’ frame of reference – can sometimes spark a new interest in a running story.  What it takes is imagination – far more than any great technology, datasets or programming skills.


  1. […] there are a lot more possible paths to explore, from plays and pop-up newsrooms to games to old-fashioned storybooks (even from journalists in jail! […]

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