Spark Posts is the Way to Tell Stories Right Now


This post originally appeared on JEA Digital Media October 10, 2018.

I’m a Hawkeye at heart. Don’t get me wrong, no school will ever replace my alma mater, Marquette University, but I certainly have a soft spot for the good ‘ole I-O-W-A. Recently, a Spark Page showed up on my Twitter feed as a retweet from and Iowa athletic account celebrating Ferentz’s 144th win. It got me thinking. Why can’t we do this?

This past summer at JEA Advisers Institute a group of us leading the team storytelling exercises pushed our teams to use Adobe Spark Pages to showcase their work. At KEMPA’s annual summer journalism workshop, Jon Rogers and Don Goble worked with their digital media students on creating a number of stories using all three Spark apps. The kids came home energized and wanting to experiment with the program. So, again, why can’t we do this?

So, inspired by that 144th win (well, the story about it) and my friends pushing my kids to try something new and different, we decided we can do this and that’s what we’re challenging ourselves to do this year. The Tom Tom, in an effort to find ways to make the invisible visible (our motto of the year), is making Spark a priority for our storytelling and promotions. Everyone is creating a Spark Page story each month. Why? They’re simple.

    • Start a story using a template, or create your own unique design.
    • Write that traditional SEO headline, and don’t forget that subject and verb that are oh so important.
    • Let that first part of the story be an attention-grabbing lead and beautifully constructed nut graf. What else? Well, add a photo to partner that text.
    • In Page you are able to use a variety of visual display types to showcase diversity throughout your story–fading photos, collages, videos, text overlays, side-by-sides and more.
    • Keep telling that story with eye-catching visuals and strong quotes. None of the journalism changes here; instead, you are telling the story with everything working in unison.
    • Proof and share. Yes, it goes right out to your social media accounts and instantly collects data for you.

Need another reason? Within 24 hours of us posting a Spark Page story profiling a senior on the football team, the story hit 2,500 views. Twenty-four hours after that it nearly doubled again. So far we’ve got four stories published within this first week of creating them, 20 more are being worked on and scheduled, our lifestyles and news departments are also starting to plan stories using Spark Page. We’re also using Spark Post and Video, but we’re using them for different purposes than we are using Spark Page.

Let’s hope this sparks your interest and that you join us in telling these creatively innovative stories.