Print's strengths mixed with digital-first philosophy

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There are things you can do with digital, and things you can't. So at last week's Digital Media North America, Mario Garcia also turned attention to the things print does best.

And of course, breaking news isn't one of them. In an age where tweets and smartphone alerts are breaking the news, newspapers shouldn't be sharing yesterday's breaking news as if it's still new, the international newspaper designer and founder of García Media told delegates.

To better serve readers, newspapers should be using their pages to give readers context. Newspapers have the opportunity to explain to readers why the story matters and how it will impact their lives, and to present the stories in ways that aren't quite as possible in the digital format.

Newspapers can create large, complex graphics that aren't feasible on a website or cellphone screen, and have knowledge about readers' lives that will help them better convey the story's relevance to their audience.

García urged delegates to consider the platform being used in storytelling. While print publishers may be used to laying out a story for a broad print format, these days, more and more people are reading the news on screens - especially smartphone screens. That means you need to tell your story in a way that will appeal to those readers.

García advised publishers to think of stories in a linear fashion. You don't want to make people click and swipe, you want them to scroll. Scrolling through a story is a more natural way of reading on a digital platform, and by making a story easier to read, you're making it more likely that readers will scroll through to the end - and discover more of your stories in the process.

Publishers also needed to be willing to get on social media and use it. Any story that you're telling in your newspaper or on your website should be told on all of your social channels, too. Maybe that means creating behind-the-scenes content to share on Snapchat while you work on the final story, or maybe it means creating shareable social images that you can post on Instagram with a short blurb to tell readers about what you're publishing. There are many, many ways to tell your stories, and you should use all of them.

With its new publication The Lily, devoted to millennial women, the Washington Post makes it a point to create unique social images for each of their stories - and you should, too. By reaching out to audiences where they are - be that on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram - you're making it easier for readers to find, read and share your content.

The first-ever DMNA event was hosted by WANM-Ifra in New York with the support of News Media Alliance. The two-day conference included presentations from digital-only and print-first publications on trends in news, better practices for editorial and advertising, and why the reader should be put first.

-with News Media Alliance

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