Nieman Storyboard

In October 2009, the Nieman Foundation launched Nieman Storyboard to cover the intersection of storytelling and news across all media. Originally a sister site of the Nieman Narrative Digest, Storyboard quickly took the lead in its range of content and its reach within the community of storytelling journalists. As a result, the archived content of the Digest was merged into the Storyboard in June 2010, creating one comprehensive narrative site for the foundation.

We continue to fulfill the Digest’s primary missions of highlighting excellence in narrative journalism via “Notable Narratives,” as well as sharing nuts-and-bolts information and best practices through interviews and essays. The Storyboard has expanded on that mission by helping journalists examine emerging story forms and incorporate storytelling techniques from the print past into the digital future.

During the past year, we also have paid extensive attention to visual narrative efforts. We have talked with journalists documenting economic change nationwide via Web-native projects. We have looked at narrative sites designed for use on the iPad. And we have even explored how interactive games might be incorporated into narrative nonfiction.

The Storyboard has shared insights from prominent writers, including Lane DeGregory, Gary Smith and Chris Jones, among many others. In addition, our audience was able to attend narrative events virtually through our coverage of the Boston University’s Narrative Conference and the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference.

The Storyboard has begun covering researchers investigating the mechanics of narratives — such as Mike Jones, a fellow with Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, who is quantitatively analyzing the relative importance of narrative elements and structures in writing.

We’ve also started several collaborative efforts. The Objective Reality documentary photography site translated some of our content into Russian for use in its programs. In order to find ways to bring the best of Spanish-language narrative to an English-speaking audience, we began working with Gabriel García Márquez’s Ibero-American Foundation for New Journalism (FNPI). In addition, we joined with the production team of the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s “Dispatches” program to adapt their foreign correspondents’ training manual for Storyboard readers. In the future, we hope to deepen these partnerships and create new ones.

High school and college classes are using our archives as part of their curriculum, and we are proud to have played a role in inspiring the creation of a science website, The Open Notebook, devoted to quality science writing and reporting. Based on the growth and expanding networks of Nieman Storyboard in the past 12 months, we look to the coming year with exctiement, anticipating many new narrative offerings for our audience.

– Andrea Pitzer
Editor, Nieman Storyboard