“How to find a form/tool that fits the content” by Alexandra Stark.


Alexandra Stark

There is a form that suits every element of a story best – no matter if you are telling your story in print or online. The flowchart Beat Rüdt and Alexandra Stark developed at MAZ, the Swiss School of Journalism, helps you to easily decide which part of your story is best presented as text, pictures, video or as a graphic or chart.

How do you use the flowchart? 

It’s easy. Just answer the questions of the flowchart. It will tell you which form fits best the element of your story you want to highlight. Every question in the flowchart can be answered with either yes or no.


The idea behind the flowchart is, that every story consists out of different elements necessary to understand a story.

By answering all the questions on the flowchart you will get the most suitable form of presentation for every element of your story. When you’re done with the tool, you will most probably have a broad variety of right forms that help to tell your story.


Do you have to use all these different forms? 

No. This chart proposes forms you can use, but that does not necessarily mean you should use all of them. You are a journalist. So focus. And select considering:

1. Your brand (do these elements and the combination if it suits your publication?)

2. Usability (is it useful / fun for our audience to have these elements?)

3. Ressources (can you or your team do it, do you have enough time, the right infrastructure?)

Does the chart tell you in what order you should tell your story? 

No. The chart does not tell you where to start and in what order to use the forms in. It’s your task to decide where to start and how best to tell your story.

Why did you invent this tool? 

MAZ, the Swiss School of Journalism, is a mid-career institution. Our students are employed at one editorial (either Print, Online, Radio or TV) and visit our classes on 90 days during their two-year training. In our multimedia classes, we realized, they had difficulties thinking outside of their everyday routine of telling stories. Students for example who worked for print would usually propose text-based stories, Radio-students would think audio first. So the idea we had is to develop a tool that helps to get rid of path dependency.

Do you want to translate the tool into your language? Do you want to use the layout (.indd)? Do you have a proposition to improve the tool?

For questions contact Alexandra Stark (tool) or Beat Ruedt (content).

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