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Nov 21 / King Kaufman

Storify: Good advice from Poynter about using it in your writing

If you’re writing online and you’re not familiar with Storify, you should get familiar. It’s an online tool that, in the site’s words, “helps its users tell stories by curating social media.”

I use Storify on this blog. Here’s a post that features a Storify, and here’s one that talks about an epic Storify that covered a daylong writing conference.

Storify logo

Dan Bonato will have a Textbook post tomorrow in this space that will use Storify as well.

Mallary Jean Tenore of has a piece today about the 5 types of stories that make good Storifys.

You should read the piece for lots of good advice from social media editors Tenore interviewed. Here’s a quick rundown of Tenore’s five categories, viewed through Bleacher Report-colored glasses.

Breaking news. This one’s sort of written on the answer sheet already. Storify itself was founded amid the Arab Spring uprisings, and most major media sites that use it have used it mostly for this purpose.

A tip: The earlier you get a Storify started, the better. You’ve probably experienced this if you’ve ever tried to create a Storify about breaking news. Tenore writes:

The Daily Beast tries to start collecting tweets and other social media elements within the first 30 minutes after news breaks so that it’s easier to track information back to its original source. This can be harder to do once information has been retweeted and reshared multiple times.

“It’s a shame because an event will happen and a little later we’ll say, ‘We should do a Storify.’ But really, it’s more a case of, ‘We should have done a Storify,’” said Daily Beast and Newsweek Social Media Editor Brian Ries. “We’ve always thought it’s best to get one up quickly, just like a reported story.”

Social movements. This is a tricky category, and the way I’m reading Tenore here, mostly writing about coverage of the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street movements, I would argue that this category should be called ongoing news stories.

Storify, Tenore writes, has been effective in providing context and giving shape to ongoing stories. As a series of street battles, the Arab-world or Wall Street protests are breaking news. As social movements, they are ongoing stories, much like the NBA lockout or the winter baseball free agent market are ongoing stories in sports.

Internet humor and memes, such as Mother Jones’ most-viewed Storify, about the Occupy Sesame Street meme. It’s quite effective at rounding up these outbursts, which happen largely through social media now.

Reaction stories. Along with breaking news, where fast-moving B/R writers can act as aggregators, and ongoing news, where B/R writers can help give context to complex stories, this category is right in Bleacher Report’s sweet spot.

Tenore writes about sites, including, asking questions about news stories and then using Storify to capture the best answers. Storify is also a great way to capture a conversation or fight between two or more parties on Twitter, such as the NFL Twitter feuds detailed in this B/R slideshow.

Weather. Not really in Bleacher Report’s sweet spot. Toronto Star Social Media Editor Sarah Millar points out that people love talking about the weather. And Charles Dudley Warner, a friend of Mark Twain’s, pointed out that nobody ever does anything about it. But unless a storm or other natural event is threatening a game somewhere, it’s not really in our bailiwick.

Here’s another good tip from Ries, the Daily Beast and Newsweek social editor: He lets people know when he’s included their tweets in a Storify. Those people often retweet. “A lot of our growth has come from social, and we find that when we throw a Storify out there during a breaking news event, we get an instant traffic boost,” the story quotes him saying.