About CIJ Well Told 2019

CIJ Well Told is the UK’s only longform and narrative festival, and takes place on 1&2 March at Goldsmiths college, London. It’s a unique chance to learn storytelling skills from some of the best talents from both sides of the Atlantic. More than ever, staying solvent as a journalist requires getting the right skills, and this is a unique opportunity to meet the best in the business. Get tickets below.

Featuring…

Maeve McClenaghan

Investigative journalist, host 'The Tip-Off'

James Harkin

Investigative reporter, author, CIJ

Chris Stokel-Walker

Freelance journalist and author

Sathnam Sanghera

Journalist, author and novelist

Zillah Watson

Virtual reality expert, BBC News

Mark Kramer

Author, and celebrated narrative teacher

Andrew Hankinson

Author and longform journalist

Jeff Maysh

True crime longform writer

Friday night’s line-up

CIJ Well Told 2019 will kick off in earnest on Friday 1 March at 6.30pm with our live event. Come to Goldsmiths and hear some of the finest narrative and longform talents from both sides of the Atlantic, including:

 Sam Knight, author of memorable Long Reads in the Guardian, including ‘London Bridge is down’: the secret plan for the days after the Queen’s death. He now reports for The New Yorker from London, and writes their fornightly Letter from the UK.

Christina Lamb, one of the UK’s most celebrated war reporters thanks to her work for the Sunday Times and other papers. She is also a best-selling author. Her narrative work consistently brings the vividness of real stories to her readers; she will talk about her work and her amazing journey.

Jeff Maysh, an acclaimed writer of longform narratives, especially about true crime. Based in LA, his stories routinely catch the eyes of readers and film producers alike, thanks to his ability to capture the drama of situations people get themselves involved in. He will be speaking about “The hero’s journey: mythical structure in true crime.”

Saturday’s schedule

Sessions running all day from 9.30am until 6pm include these:

  • -

    The Science of Storytelling with Will Storr

    Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us, leading us on a journey from the Hebrew scriptures to Mr Men, from Booker Prize-winning literature to box set TV. Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world.

    Speakers:

    Will Storr

  • -

    How readers engage with stories: The evidence

    Forget conventional wisdom, rumour and hunches. Jill Nicholson, from content intelligence company Chartbeat, will reveal the data trends about the stories UK readers actually read, the devices they use, and even the day of the week they read most on. What kind of headline makes a visitor stop and read? What kind of language can cause people to drop off a page? In today’s click-and-skim world, every moment with a reader matters. Drawing on the evidence of sites which use Chartbeat, she will also reveal the top 5 UK stories which people were most engaged with over the past few months - presenting key insights for anyone involved in writing, editing or publishing longform.

    Speakers:

    Jill Nicholson

  • -

    Fact and Fiction: Sathnam Sanghera in conversation

    Author and journalist Sathnam Sanghera balances his journalism with writing award-winning books. But can you balance the writing of factual memoir with the disciplines of writing fiction? In conversation with Mark Kramer.

    Speakers:

    Mark Kramer

    Sathnam Sanghera

  • -

    Getting the book that's inside you OUT of you

    Many journalists know they have a book inside them, waiting to be written. But knowing how to go about it is another matter. That's where this session comes in - where journalists-turned-authors, such as Chris Stokel-Walker, share their experiences. Publisher Martin Hickman, himself an award-winning journalist, will reveal what aspiring authors need to know.

    Speakers:

    Chris Stokel-Walker

    Martin Hickman

  • -

    Young audiences online: stereotypes and strategies

    Longform and narrative journalism are evolving to engage young audiences online. How can they succeed in a context of ‘snackable’ news, low attention spans and an endless stream of new content? A panel with experience spanning PinkNews, BBC Newsbeat, BuzzFeed News and HuffPostUK discuss the stereotypes about young people's media habits and how crafted stories can flourish on youth-focused platforms.

    Speakers:

    Ellen Stewart

    Imran Rahman-Jones

    Louise Ridley

  • -

    The art of pitching

    You might have the best ideas in the world, but what you'll probably also need is a commission from a publisher. Pitching successfully to features editors is a skill like any other, and in this session we are bringing together writers, editors, contributors and commissioners including Stuart McGurk from GQ, Rosie Blau from 1843 and Finlo Rohrer from BBC News, to talk over what works and what - definitely - doesn't.

    Speakers:

    Chris Stokel-Walker

    Finlo Rohrer

    Rosie Blau

    Stuart McGurk

  • -

    The basics of narrative with Mark Kramer

    Narrative journalism - the storyteller's techniques of including scene, character, action, suspense, and more - gives longform journalists the building blocks of their trade. In this session, Mark Kramer, co-founder of Well Told and one of the world's leading experts in the teaching of narrative journalism, will give an introduction to the skills journalists will carry with them for the rest of their careers.

    Speakers:

    Mark Kramer

  • -

    Podcast clinic

    Got a great idea for a podcast but don't know where to start? Come and get advice from podcaster Wil Treasure on hardware, software and structure as well as tips on arranging collaborations, pitching to specialist media and learning the skills to produce professional content.

    Speakers:

    Wil Treasure

  • -

    Creating compelling storytelling in podcasts

    Investigative journalist Maeve McClenaghan has built an award-winning podcast, The Tip-Off, around the subject which really inspires her - hard, complex investigations which have an impact. And she's done it in an effortless narrative style which handles the complexity of each story beautifully. In this illustrated session she will speak about structure, use of sound effects and music, interviews, scripting and other techniques which have made the Tip-Off a hit.

    Speakers:

    Maeve McClenaghan

  • -

    Making it pay

    In depth reporting takes serious dedication, but a lot of the time the battle journalists face is how to pay for it. Jeff Maysh, true crime writer, and Alex Perry, reporter-turned-author, have found alternative ways of funding their work - by making their work irresistible to film and TV producers. In this session they talk about how they did it, and what producers are looking for.

    Speakers:

    Alex Perry

    Jeff Maysh

  • -

    Investigative journalism meets story: The case of Syria

    Investigative journalists are now vulnerable not only to stifling libel laws and facile contradiction by fake news and disinformation. In a journey which takes him from rural Syria to continental Europe for GQ, James Harkin tracks down the faked and then the real story of a daring revolutionary singer in Syria who either did or didn't end up with his throat slit by government loyalists. The article narrates the singer's story, Harkin's harrowing detective work, and fills us in painlessly on the tangled and deadly political allegiances protecting the supporting the regime. He'll speak about narrative-investigative crossover pieces with this article as a case in point. The talk will still make sense if you haven't read the article - but it's a great read.

    Speakers:

    James Harkin

  • -

    Freelancing: The business end

    Times can rarely have seen harder for freelances, with even digital players making cutbacks or going out of business. For many journalists freelancing is their only option if they are to do the job they love. For some it's the freedom they will never give up. This session will tackle some of the business basics of being a freelance, as well as the techniques for trying to make those grand ambitions of writing longform features a reality.

    Speakers:

    Mun-keat Looi

    Sally Hayden

    Simon Akam

  • -

    Finding the drama in data

    You can use infographics to tell important, in depth stories which pack a punch. Rob Orchard, editor of Delayed Gratification, the Slow Journalism magazine, shows how, using beautiful examples, to dive into data to bring back great features, and how editors can decide whether to commission a 5,000-word piece or a double-page spread of stats.

    Speakers:

    Rob Orchard

  • -

    Your story through different eyes

    In a world where your audience is global, journalism often needs to be written not just for the people who already know half of the story. How do you get the balance between explaining the story and making it interesting? How do you write for an international audience not just a national one? What are the common mistakes that journalists make? Too local? Too simplistic? Not understanding what the story may look like from another country? Rachael Jolley, editor of Index on Censorship, and Meera Selva from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, have some answers.

    Speakers:

    Meera Selva

    Rachael Jolley

  • -

    Always Take Notes podcast live recording

    The podcast Always Take Notes has been demystifying the worlds of writing and publishing for a couple of years now. In this live recording, hosts Simon Akam and Eleanor Halls speak to Andrew Hankinson, author of the marvellously creative - and yet definitely non-fiction book - You Could Do Something Amazing with Your Life [You Are Raoul Moat]

    Speakers:

    Andrew Hankinson

    Eleanor Halls

    Simon Akam

  • -

    Interactivity v storytelling?

    New hardware and software bring with them fantastic experiences for audiences - whether VR, AR or 360. But the challenge for journalists is to use these new tools in ways which enhance the story rather than get in the way. Is such a thing really possible? Zillah Watson, the BBC's expert on the subject, debates.

    Speakers:

    Ben Fogarty

    Zillah Watson

  • -

    Narratives from the inside

    Victoria Anderson and Wallis Eates went into HMP Wandsworth intending to make some digital stories with the prisoners, as they had done a number of times before. But when they tried to leave the prison on this occasion, the authorities destroyed what they had created, deleting files and confiscating notebooks. Instead of killing their project, it inspired the pair to turn it into something much more ambitious. In this talk they will explain how they used comics journalism to bring the prisoners' remarkable stories to life - and to the outside. They will also talk about how they used crowdfunding to help their project become a reality.

    Speakers:

    Vicky Anderson

    Wallis Eates

Tickets

Freelance

45 GBP
  • Entry on Friday evening, 1 March
  • Entry on Saturday 2 March
  • Buy Ticket

Standard

60 GBP
  • Entry on Friday evening, 1 March
  • Entry on Saturday 2 March
  • Buy Ticket

Extra

150 GBP
  • Narrative workshop, Friday afternoon 1 March
  • Entry on Friday evening, 1 March
  • Entry on Saturday 2 March
  • Buy Ticket

Event venue

  • Goldsmiths, University of London, 8 Lewisham Way, New Cross, London SE14 6NW
  • +44 20 7193 9285
  • info@welltold.org

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Sponsors

Well Told is generously supported by

Well Told

The UK's first ever longform conference

The first Well Told was held in May 2017, and featured Radio 4's Manveen Rana, the New Yorker's Ed Caesar, Pulitzer Prize-winner Tom French and author Emma Jane-Kirby, and many others.