Mark Luckie on innovative storytelling at the Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Mark Luckie gave an insight into his role during a session on innovative storytelling at the Journalism Interactive conference.

Luckie is national innovations editor at the Post. His job is to be responsible for web section of the national coverage, figuring out a web strategy for the stories that reporters are working on and editors are planning.

Luckie explained how the Post had moved away from the web as an afterthought, only considering what to put online at the last minute. Readers recognise shoddy work, he said.

Now, said Luckie, the innovation editors work with editors and reporters before they touch a keystroke so that they can work on the web treatment well ahead of time.

Luckie also explained how the editorial thinking had changed at the Post, from cramming everything onto a page to being more strategic about readers want.

Instead of thinking about the tools first, the Post is now thinking about the journalism first. One of the questions he asked reporters is, what’s your wildest dreams for telling this story on the web.

Luckie showed how for the anniversary of 9/11, the paper focused on the perspective from Washington.

“We’re trying to individualise news, we’re trying to personalise news,” he said. His priority is to figure out what does the reader want to see and then make decisions about how to tell the story.

Luckie also showed how the Post is trying to build stories socially. One example was a 9/11 tweet-up in a coffee shop in DC, where people were encouraged to draw their experience of 9/11.

“We’re saying, come talk to us,” he stressed.

Luckie said that often the paper uses off-the-shelf tools such as Tiki-Toki to create a timeline.

We’re trying to present information in different ways to tell stories and reach readers, concludes Luckie.