Monthly Archives: February 2013

STORIES OF THE WEEK: Three Johns, Two Masterpieces

Every week, I will shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.

Future installments of “Stories of the Week” will cover all forms of media. But for the first installment, I stayed close to home: great human-interest pieces from local news stations in the Southeast.

In particular I’d like to showcase a few people I know very well — three men named John (well, one is named Jon) and one named Steve.

A gift of a lifetime for Joseph (2/22/13, WXIA-TV Atlanta): When I first interviewed at WXIA-TV in Atlanta, I was shown a sample of the station’s work. The most exceptional stories came from Jon Shirek, whose understated delivery belies the beauty in his writing. The story aired last Friday and has been at the top of the site’s most-read articles all weekend. Credit goes to photographer Steve Flood for the quick but powerful pace he sets in editing this story.


INTRODUCTION: The Storyteller’s Manifesto

A long time, in the world of journalism, means precious little.

When I entered the business at the turn of the century, I was told to expect change. Throughout college, my professors warned that local TV news and newspapers were dying; web sites predicted the Internet would take over; and no one could confidently say what the media landscape would look like in ten years.

Ten years have since come and gone, and change has indeed taken place. Journalists can now expect to spend a sizable chunk of time updating Twitter and Facebook accounts; they can expect to post their work on the web before it ever appears on the air or in print; and they can expect to be regularly asked to do more with less.

My personal career trajectory reflects some of these changes. I entered the industry as a one-man sports department in Sioux City, Iowa (check out the opening credits), began gravitating to the news side in Buffalo, N.Y., and now serve as a full-time news reporter for 11Alive in Atlanta, Georgia. Part of this was personal – I gradually developed a wide variety of professional interests and did not want to limit my stories to the field of athletics. But part was a response to the changing landscape. Local sports coverage has declined considerably in all media over the past decade, while teams have exerted greater control over their products, muddying the waters for any sports journalist. Ultimately I saw greater opportunities to flourish and do powerful journalism as a news reporter.

As media change, though, one thing remains constant: storytelling.



Enter your email and keep up to date ...