Basically, it's fact-based storytelling that makes people want to keep reading.
The Nieman Narrative Digest (see links below) provides links to many excellent newspaper series that take advantage of the form.
Among magazines, you can find excellent examples of narrative nonfiction in The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, Points of Entry, and River Teeth.
(Nieman Storyboard on why the classic narrative nonfiction stories work) Excellent online examples of narrative journalism Accuracy, honesty, and truth in narrative nonfiction Characters in narrative nonfiction Narrative nonfiction goes under many names, including creative nonfiction, literary journalism, and fact-based storytelling.
In short form, it's an alternative to the traditional newspaper pyramid structure (in which, if you lopped off the bottom part of the story, the reader would still have all the key information).
After a series of links here you will find a list of classic book-length narrative nonfiction, followed by links to a few exceptionally good short narratives or newspaper series readable online. 8, 2014 --The Berkeley Narrative Journalism Conference, cosponsored by ASJA Educational Foundation), this new conference brings top editors and writers to Berkeley for a daylong exploration of nonfiction storytelling.
The Mayborn literary nonfiction conference (Grapevine, Texas) The Power of Narrative Conference has convened in several places under several names since its founding at Boston University in 1998. Attendance is limited to 75 writers; experience (in any genre) a must.
Norman Sims and Mark Kramer Literary Nonfiction: Learning by Example, ed.
Patsy Sims The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, ed.
Writes Gornick: "Memoir isn't what happened but what the writer makes of what happened.") Story Building: Narrative Techniques for News and Feature Writers by Ndaeyo Uko Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hart.