One Of Our Content Creators Shares Four Methods Used to Tell Better Stories at USA TODAY NETWORK

At USA TODAY NETWORK, our content creation team works to improve the ways we tell stories so that we can best connect with our communities. We sat down with Shannon Green, Sr. Multimedia Producer (Podcast) who has been a part of this important team since 2009. Shannon oversees the collaboration strategies for our podcasts and shared some of the methods she uses to tell better stories at USA TODAY NETWORK:

I. Pushing the Boundaries of Traditional Media

“Although podcasts have been around since at least 2005, USA TODAY NETWORK is now putting a big focus on it. Being a digital newsroom, rather than an audio production company, has allowed us to put a unique spin on this type of medium. We’re able to review past practices, internally and externally, and decide what works best for our listeners from a clean slate.”

II. Setting Specific Goals for Content

“Our goal on the content creation team mirrors that of the company as a whole: innovation and diversity are at the forefront. This goal allows us to connect with our audience and become a part of their everyday lives. Things such as making sure stories are available on all platforms (especially the newest smart devices) and having stories that reflect not only the diversity of our audiences – but particularly having a staff of journalists that represents the make-up of our country —these initiatives help us tell stories that matter.”

III. Staying Flexible

“The number one necessity in content creation is to prepare as much as possible and be flexible. You always want to stay ahead of the game by doing research and making sure you have as much solid information as possible. The whole point of going out in the field and conducting interviews is to learn more about what you don’t currently know. Ask follow-up questions as they strike you and listen to your curiosity or confusion. When you’re surprised or hear something unexpected, ask more questions to better understand. And you never know when your story angle will utterly change – it’s all part of staying flexible.”

IV. Creating Connections

“Creating a connection is integral because it makes people comfortable. This proves true especially with sensitive topics or stories that may be in the spotlight. Making a connection allows room for emotional safety. You should thoroughly explain to those involved in a story what the publication of a story could mean and the consequences that may come with it. It also ensures that those involved are treated fairly and that their stories are told with the respect necessary.”

Along with the methods she’s learned so far in her time at USA TODAY NETWORK, Shannon gives some advice to future content creators who are looking to join our team, “My advice, make sure you look into the story you’re telling closely. You need to want to get to know your community, not just on the surface level but in a manner that allows you to really make a difference for those who engage with your stories. Being flexible and ready to learn will help you to understand the changes happening in this industry and how to best adapt to them.”

Tap into these methods and many more for telling impactful stories when you apply to join our team today!

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