Neil Shea

writer | photographer | story consultant


Stories made for social media

Story Consulting

April 20, 2016

In addition to my work as a journalist, I’m also a story consultant, hired by such clients as Instagram, Cathay Pacific Airways, and Passion Passport. Recently I consulted on collaborative project that employed Instagram as a teaching tool and as a strategic platform for social media outreach. As part of the project, I taught a social media workshop in Hong Kong, and created Instagram stories for an international advertising campaign. Partners included Cathay Pacific Airways, Passion Passport, and several other companies in the US and in Asia.

The image above, and the stories that are part of this collaborative series, can be found here.

Long-form narrative writer Neil Shea finds new storytelling possibilities in short posts on Instagram. This piece appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Nieman Reports.

Watershed Stories

March 16, 2016

These images, and the stories that go with them, are pieces in an ongoing experiment in social media storytelling that appears only on Instagram. Comprised of posts that pair one image with a short, evocative text, these stories tell of life along the waterway that connects southern Ethiopia with northern Kenya.

The series was first posted to National Geographic’s Instagram feed. It has been viewed and “liked” nearly 11 million times and commented upon by tens of thousands of users, allowing us to reach a vast new audience.

The Bear

February 12, 2016

A short series on Instagram, remembering my first close encounter with the king in the north.

“I have not thought of the bear in years, though once I dreamed of it nightly. My guide, a young Inuit named Gideon, spotted it first. Of course he did, for I was still blind in that place and worried about my fingers, which were numb with cold and useless as twigs. Gideon said, Let’s go, and grabbed his rifle. I slid behind him on the snow machine and we launched out of our wind-battered camp.”

VQR’s “True Story”

November 30, 2015

This fall, the Virginia Quarterly Review begins an experiment in non-fiction storytelling using the Instagram platform. With my colleague Jeff Sharlet and our editor Paul Reyes, we’ll curate a project that will regularly feature writers on the magazine’s Instagram feed. Each will post between three and five short, true pieces on subjects from many corners of the United States and, we hope, the world. They’ll be paid a modest amount, and their pieces will be assembled into an essay, which will be housed on VQR’s website. The best of this work will also be published in the print edition of the magazine.

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