This is a Journalism Toolbox. We can add to it as we go. Maybe at some point we’ll add a table of contents.

Gist of a story

  • Protagonist, with attribute and challenge
  • Erzählsatz

  • SLAT: Shit look at that
  • Clear Focus
  • Story not topic
  • BME: Beginning Middle End
  • Heroines’ journey

  • Build a house: Strong Beginning/End,


  • What’s the story
  • Why now?
  • For whom?

  • Less is more
  • Kino im Kopf
  • Consider background of people you pitch to
  • Cliffhanger

Golden Rules of Storytelling

  • Shit look at that
  • Erzählsatz
  • Show don’t tell
  • Heroines‘ Journey
  • How to translate to one of other 32 language departments?

  • Research-Cross: How was it before? How will it be in the future? How is it somewhere else?
  • W-Fragen answered? Who, What, How, Where, When, Why, Source
  • Target-Audience: 14-40 yrs old urban decision-makers
  • Get out and off the phone: Analogue makes the difference
  • Avoid clichés and empty phrases: Floskelfreie Sprache

  • Try and Fail: Because why not
  • What does the user say? How can I create dialogue with my audience?
  • Only the best – and not the first person: Find people who are affected, experts, people responsible
  • Don’t be afraid of feedback
  • Gather: Ideas for future projects and your old stories/projects/stuff

  • Media-Routine: Change it up and reflect how/what media you consume?
  • I am responsible for the interview
  • Find ideas: Beware yes-but paradox – Every idea is worth to be brought into life


  • No questions? No story!
  • W-Fragen: Who? What? Where? How? When? Why? Source
  • There are no right or wrong questions – there’s just the right question in the right moment MOST important is…
    • know what you want to know
    • really listen in
    • be flexible
    • Don’t lose your focus
    • Don’t be afraid of simple questions
  • Be persistent but not aggressive

Preparation for the interview

Find the focus:

  1. Who are you asking for?
  2. How much time do you have?
  3. What do you want to know?


  • Research interview: gaining knowledge, understanding contexts OPEN, DETAILED YET: scrutinize
  • Opinion interview: extremely focused on comments PERSISTENT & confronting views ready
  • Expert interview: focused with gained general knowledge OPEN & Facts ready to confront
  • Portrait: focused or wide depending on person
  • Mix

*NEVER sent the questions, but it is possible to agree on the direction of the interview *

**Stay professional! **


  • OR questions (or they’ll choose)
  • 2 in 1 questions (or they’ll choose)
  • loosing track and if you do, say: WHY? WHAT does that mean? WHAT makes you certain?

What makes a journalistic text interesting and exciting

  • Organisation and dramaturgy –> build a house
  • Precise and varied language (dynamic between long and short sentences; active verbs, description, change of perpective, quotation, insertions)
  • Free of set phrases / flowers of speech
  • Strong beginning AND strog end

  • NOT just describe stuff! Let me expirience it

Teaser = story in a nutshell –> PUB talk

  1. Surprise, create interest –> SLAT
  2. Why do you need to know this? –> Wanna tell others
  3. Context. Conflict. –> Happening! Problem!
  4. Cliffhanger –> I gotta stay tuned!


  • Inform as short as possible about what is going on
  • Create reading impulse
  • Clear message
  • Central message og the whole text: essence
  • DW: include all important research keywords

But: Differenciate between news and not news

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.