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New Journalism Initiative to Study Sustainability of Long-Form Storytelling

MU researcher creates project to report on national trends, experiment with new storytelling methods

May 22nd, 2012

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217, hurstn@missouri.edu

By Brad Fischer

COLUMBIA, Mo. – In recent years, online communities have formed around participants’ love for long-form storytelling, which is a method of reporting in which journalists produce in-depth stories on a single topic, rather than just skimming the surface of a news event. Now, an initiative at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and the Reynolds Journalism Institute, called Stry.us (pronounced STOHR-ee) will promote long-form storytelling and research how it can contribute to new business models for journalism organizations.

“Long-form storytelling has increased in popularity in recent years,” said Dan Oshinsky, a 2011-2012 Reynolds Fellow at RJI. “This project will give us the chance to explore new ways to report and provide information. In addition, we hope to study the profitability of long-form storytelling and other initiatives. This project could provide the framework for an innovative news service focusing on long-form storytelling.”

Oshinsky will lead a team of reporters including students and experienced journalists in a four-month-long reporting stint in Springfield, Mo. The content they create will appear on the project’s website, www.Stry.us, as well as in newspapers and online publications, and on radio stations across the state. The team will produce long-form stories in different mediums including audio, print and visual. The project will focus on stories that show how national and international trends are connected to Springfield residents and organizations.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring our readers and listeners stories from beyond the Statehouse through our partnership with Stry.us,” said Jason Hannasch, president of Missouri News Horizon, one of the project’s news partners. “This partnership will improve our public service by providing more solid journalism on a wider selection of issues important to people throughout the state.”

Stry will partner with the Springfield-Green County Library District to work on a project called “Letters to Springfield.” Citizens will be asked to send letters about what they think are important current topics in Springfield. More information is available at www.stry.us/letters. The library will host town hall-style events based on the letters during which community members can discuss the issues brought forward in the letters.

“The library is incredibly excited to be a partner in the Stry.us project,” said Tammy Flippen, the Funding Information Center Coordinator at the Springfield-Greene County Library District. “The opportunity to shine the light on what is happening in the Ozarks and build a better community speaks to the mission of the library.”

To follow the team’s reporting or find the schedule of live events, visit www.Stry.us. For more information about the Stry.us project visit: http://www.rjionline.org/people/dan-oshinsky

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