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We’re already consuming the future of news — now we have to produce it

“Going forward, we will resource and produce articles, videos, and now Stories as our third core output. This is a significant and required shift in order to actually meet the audience where they are.”

The future of storytelling is not the format you’re actively consuming as your eyes traverse the page of this text. That is to say: It’s not an article. Not to diminish the value of articles (or the one you’re reading now), but the most revolutionary thing to happen in journalism over the past couple of years is rarely talked about as the future. It’s the emergence of Stories as a key format and consumption mechanism for new audiences.

For all the hand-wringing we’ve done over the past decade about young people not caring about news or spending too much time consuming junk on social media: (1) we were wrong, they do care, and (2) we’ve been focusing on the wrong part of that story. Young people are consuming; they want to understand their world in a way that is relevant and personal to them.

Enter the Stories format. A match made in heaven for both news producers and the young audiences already engaged in formats with which to consume said relevant content.

Above: “Ask a Swole Woman,” a franchise written and produced by Vice life editorial director Casey Johnston, and a dispatch from Alex Norcia, a Vice staff writer who covers drug policy.

Think Google AMP Stories, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and the like. Stories — tap-through, mobile-first immersive story forms — come together in a combination of motion graphics, narrative, video, mixed media, and interactivity. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you know what a Story is — collectively we spend billions of hours creating and consuming them. This is GOOD NEWS for our industry.

Now we just have to produce them in a meaningful way. And by that I mean resourcing them in our newsrooms and helping to evolve them into Stories of Consequence. (Which doesn’t mean they can’t continue to be delightful and easy to consume!)

This is where innovation comes into play! At Vice, we’ve set up our 2020 strategy to reflect Stories as a legitimate story form with a seat at the table. Going forward, we will resource and produce articles, videos, and now Stories as our third core output. This is a significant and required shift in order to actually meet the audience where they are.

So what does all of this mean to an industry who just underwent a dramatic shift from legacy to digital and is just getting their heads around the fact that the desktop web is not the final destination? It means the disruption will continue. It means monetization needs rapid innovation. It means to win in this new format, we have to invest and produce. It’s a bet, but a bet against a known audience that is only growing. That sounds like a promising place for the future.

Cory Haik is chief digital officer of Vice Media Group.

The future of storytelling is not the format you’re actively consuming as your eyes traverse the page of this text. That is to say: It’s not an article. Not to diminish the value of articles (or the one you’re reading now), but the most revolutionary thing to happen in journalism over the past couple of years is rarely talked about as the future. It’s the emergence of Stories as a key format and consumption mechanism for new audiences.

For all the hand-wringing we’ve done over the past decade about young people not caring about news or spending too much time consuming junk on social media: (1) we were wrong, they do care, and (2) we’ve been focusing on the wrong part of that story. Young people are consuming; they want to understand their world in a way that is relevant and personal to them.

Enter the Stories format. A match made in heaven for both news producers and the young audiences already engaged in formats with which to consume said relevant content.

Above: “Ask a Swole Woman,” a franchise written and produced by Vice life editorial director Casey Johnston, and a dispatch from Alex Norcia, a Vice staff writer who covers drug policy.

Think Google AMP Stories, Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and the like. Stories — tap-through, mobile-first immersive story forms — come together in a combination of motion graphics, narrative, video, mixed media, and interactivity. Chances are, if you are reading this article, you know what a Story is — collectively we spend billions of hours creating and consuming them. This is GOOD NEWS for our industry.

Now we just have to produce them in a meaningful way. And by that I mean resourcing them in our newsrooms and helping to evolve them into Stories of Consequence. (Which doesn’t mean they can’t continue to be delightful and easy to consume!)

This is where innovation comes into play! At Vice, we’ve set up our 2020 strategy to reflect Stories as a legitimate story form with a seat at the table. Going forward, we will resource and produce articles, videos, and now Stories as our third core output. This is a significant and required shift in order to actually meet the audience where they are.

So what does all of this mean to an industry who just underwent a dramatic shift from legacy to digital and is just getting their heads around the fact that the desktop web is not the final destination? It means the disruption will continue. It means monetization needs rapid innovation. It means to win in this new format, we have to invest and produce. It’s a bet, but a bet against a known audience that is only growing. That sounds like a promising place for the future.

Cory Haik is chief digital officer of Vice Media Group.

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