Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
Skeptical cop befriends homeless veteran (2/15/17, KARE-TV): In his first appearance in this segment this year — but definitely not his first appearance overall — Boyd Huppert gives a master class in how to imbue a piece with emotion and connection.
The headline above makes clear the substance of his story: it deals with a homeless veteran who finds a source of grace and generosity in a local police officer. But Huppert writes — and photographer Rob Collett edits — with a deft touch, revealing critical details in a way that both surprises and enriches.
Those of us who teach storytelling often talk about the importance of “reveals” and “moments”, but Huppert excels at earning those moments. When they appear in this story (I won’t spoil them here), they feel more meaningful because of the rich visuals and character development that have led to them.
10-year-old soccer prodigy not letting cancer slow him down (2/17/17, CTV Edmonton): Here is another example of how layered, moment-driven storytelling can be so effective.
Reporter Adam Cook of CTV Edmonton presents this profile of Ryder Rattee, a young soccer standout with dreams of playing professionally in Barcelona. Seemingly every sentence of Cook’s script features a new detail, even at the beginning when he reveals a relatively straightforward nugget: Rattee’s father is also his coach.
This type of storytelling can be extremely rewarding for the viewer. Cook and photographer Mike Tighe take their audience on a fulfilling ride, and they more than earn their five minutes of air time.
My greatest loss (2/16/17, The Players Tribune): Former NFL defensive lineman Tommie Harris tells his story in a different way: with straightforward, soul-baring, first-person reflection.
Writing for the Players Tribune, Harris talks about the unexpected loss of his wife and the impact it has made on him as a father. The story brims with emotion; Harris talks openly and beautifully about his feelings, connections, and shortcomings.
But he also uses some of the same storytelling techniques that benefit Huppert and Cook. He reveals details in layers, jumping back and forth to different points of the past with vignettes that both build suspense and enrich the reader’s understanding of his relationship. He recalls conversations with specificity and never misses a chance to bond with his reader.
I left this piece moved by Harris’ story … and marveling at his storytelling.
Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.