by Marsha Little Matthews

July 3, 2019

The Summer 1 session of COMM 5333/MCOM 4333 Narrative Storytelling Across Media wraps up this week. Five weeks go quickly, especially when learning a new way to conceptualize narrativity and approach mediated storytelling.

Five undergraduate students with some experience in video and audio production and three graduate students, two of whom had no video or audio production experience and one who did, enthusiastically embraced the challenge.

The final project for this course was a 3-5 minute audio story approached with a documentary-style rather than a traditional news interview style. Elements to be incorporated/applied to create the stories include:

  • William Labov’s Five Principles of Tellibility (Ryan, 2004)
    • Abstract
    • Orientation
    • Complicating Action
    • Evaluation
    • Result or Resolution
    • Coda (if used)
  • Kurt Lancaster’s Concepts of Character and Dramatic Structure (Lancaster, 2013)
    • Dramatic Structure
      • Hook
      • Conflict
      • Climax and Resolution
    • Character
      • What does the character want?
      • What does the character do to achieve this?
    • Use of Music and Sound Effects
    • Editing – Rhythm and Pacing
      • Montage
      • Decoupage
      • Collision
      • Linkage
    • Tension and Release
    • Audio Design

Here are the stories produced by this summer’s students.


Ryan, M-L (2004). Narrative Across Media: The Languages of Storytelling.Lincoln NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Lancaster, K. (2013). Video Journalism for the Web: A Practical Introduction to Documentary Storytelling. New York: Routledge.