Interactivity key in standout online sports storytelling

What makes online sports journalism different from it’s print or broadcast counterpart? Simply put, interactivity.  Interactivity in this sense includes Twitter incorporation, photos, videos, and sophisticated graphics.  News providers that take advantage of interactive graphics and multi-platform storytelling cultivate an internet audience hungry for the newest and most complete content.’s Blackhawks Insider Tracey Myers incorporated a Twitter phenomenon surrounding a young player in her blog on Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s website. Her article “#ShawFacts takes Chicago by storm” both tells the story of Shaw’s Twitter popularity, while including a video of the rookie’s reaction to the hype.

But what makes this story really come together is the incorporation of Twitter into the story. Using Storify, Myers illustrates just how much Chicago embraced the #ShawFacts sensation.

Storify is an excellent tool in interactive online storytelling.

Andrew Huff of the Chicago-centric blog Gapers Block uses a similar strategy in his story “The Story Behind the Wrigley Field Brick.”  Twitter, again, plays a key role in the saga surrounding a Wrigley Field personalized brick. Actor Jason Segel tweeted a picture of the brick on January 7th.

Actor Jason Segel used crowdsourcing to get to the bottom of a Wrigley Field brick that had always interested him.

Since the story itself revolved around the sharing of information via Twitter, the use of Twitter was vital in telling the story. Huff used Storify to document Segel and Bergseth’s Twitter dialogue.

Another example of strong interactive storytelling is the use of movable graphics. The Wall Street Journal used this feature beautifully in association with it’s article on the 2012 NFL Playoffs.

The Wall Street Journal included a tremendous amount of content in this interactive graphic.

As a visual medium alone, this graphic is outstanding.  Clean lines frame out several images that represent the remaining teams in the playoffs. To the right, a Massey-Peabody Index line graph illustrates how a team performs week to week.

Along with the in-depth analysis and commentary, including a “How to Read this Graph” index, this graphic becomes a stunning online package.

However, there is one constant that remains in any sports storytelling: compelling writing.

Michael Farber illustrates this in his story outlining the problems with contemporary politics in the National Hockey League.

The Sports Illustrated piece employs few links or photos, but none are needed with writing as strong as Farber’s.


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