clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Vox Media launches on Google’s AMP Stories

Introducing a new format for cross-platform visual storytelling at scale

Vox Media is on AMP Stories! Two Vox Media networks, Vox and SB Nation, have pioneered mobile-first storytelling experience for users who are looking for mobile storytelling in politics, culture and sports.

Announced in tandem with Vox Media’s Elite Truong on stage at Google’s AMP Conference in Amsterdam, the exciting news was also featured in the Wall Street Journal, Variety, TechCrunch, Axios and on The Verge, where Vox Media Chief Product Officer Joe Alicata explained “AMP Stories are a distinct, new way to tell stories.”

These stories will begin rolling out in mobile search this week for most users. You can see what the stories look like on mobile by directly going to g.co/ampstories and searching for “SB Nation” or “Vox.”

Today, mobile traffic surpasses desktop for all our networks and we know mobile users are looking for stories that take full advantage of mobile behavior and encourage repeated engagement. AMP Stories offers us an opportunity to deliver that.

These stories can be featured on our websites, shared on social platforms, and available through search. We also see advertising demand for vertical mobile-friendly presentations that can work across platforms.

Creating AMP Stories requires us to continue to evolve how we approach storytelling and the tools we have for those.

In terms of telling stories, it required us to distill the essence of an article or think of new content that fit this framework of sequential storytelling. We needed a flexible way to build stories, do a lot of one-off experiments with animations and video, and make sure we didn’t accrue too much technical or design debt along the way. We knew that creating bespoke code for each story would not cause significant delays in the time from pitch to publish and not be sustainable for general story production.

So we built a lightweight authoring tool in Chorus, our modern media stack to produce, manage and publish AMP Stories.

The Story Builder allows us to have all of the options we need for branding and AMP validation and customize our story pages. As technical requirements changed and our editorial sensibilities on the rhythm and flow of the content we created, we made updates to the tool that in turn flowed into the AMP Stories we had created.

Our newsrooms have significant experience working with visual stories and talented producers and editors across video, analytics and app-specific teams have worked to understand what works for our readers.

AMP Stories helped accelerate that collaboration across editorial, design, product and revenue. To serve our users better, we’ll need to produce stories more quickly and be thoughtful about the kinds of stories that we can tell so we leave our readers informed, but not overwhelmed.

We’ve paired dedicated social media-savvy writers and designers to work together to produce stories that capture SB Nation’s fun, fan-centric voice in the world of sports and Vox’s voice that makes sense of news, culture and policies that affect our lives.

Writers and designers work with text and visual editors, analysts, product managers, designers and engineers to produce captivating short stories and collaborate to enhance the Story Builder to design new, reusable templates and layouts to convey information to our viewers and readers for different kinds of stories.

Creating AMP Stories requires a close process of collaboration between teams that doesn’t exist elsewhere in the newsroom. Everyone involved has a stake in the stories we create today, tomorrow and next week, and we all have to consider what we’ll need to effectively tell those stories.

After months of experimentation in the beta phase, we’re excited to see these stories live. We’ll pay close attention to how our readers are finding these stories, whether or not they find the stories relevant, and answer questions on how we can inform them better. We’re taking lessons and guidelines from all of the ways we’ve told visual stories to see what works for our readers in the newest format, and are excited to see what’s next in this space.

Elite Truong, Audience Product Manager, contributed to this post.