A story is a structure for delivering information. A story has a beginning, middle, and end. Usually, something happens to someone and something changes as a result.
Recently, a professional media relations specialist was bemoaning the fact that a newspaper journalist “did not get the story” that the specialist was attempting to relay. When I pressed the professional communicator, it became clear that he was delivering a message to the journalist. He had not offered the journalist a story, with a beginning, middle, and end, let alone characters, action, challenge, and resolution. He had not thought about how to make his message concrete or his complex data meaningful, or to provide a context for the message, all of which could be delivered through a structured and strategic story.
The journalist may not have reported the precise and desired message. But he did not fail in reporting the story, as he was not offered a story on which to report.