3 GREAT STORIES: Starring paint, police cars, & pics

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.

Young artist not stopped by disease sells $50K painting (10/23/14, KUSA-TV): An on-the-surface slam dunk of a story turns out, indeed, to be just that.

Reporter Kyle Dyer and photographer Andrew Christman of 9News in Denver spin a great yarn here. They tell the story of a young girl who suffers from brittle bone disease — as do her parents. She fights it with a beaming personality and a unexpected ability: painting. Fast forward to a charity event where the young girl, named Anicee, sells two of her canvases for $50,000 each.

It’s a feel-good story that feels better thanks to Dyer and Christman’s storytelling. They weave in some great surprises and genuine moments of joy, and they make it look pretty easy.

Pursuit of stolen car ends with capture of naked, singing suspect (10/21/14, WBFF-TV): For the click-driven purposes of the web, of course, the headline here spoils the big reveal in the story.

But I imagine, on air, it left a few people stunned.

Kathleen Cairns of Fox Baltimore is the reporter here, and she writes a powerful script in which each line builds upon the one before it. But the real star here is her photojournalist, Ben Worsley. He shoots the heck out of a relatively nondescript crime story, and his work sings as a result. This is a great job all-around: a hard-news piece that captures one’s attention immediately and never lets it go.

The laborers who keep beheadings out of your Facebook feed (10/23/14, Wired): Speaking of capturing one’s attention immediately, here is a long-form magazine article that absolutely nails it.

Adrian Chen of Wired gets extraordinary access here, heading to the Philippines to visit an office where workers scan social media for inappropriate content, which they then delete. These folks are, in some ways, the unsung gatekeepers of the Internet — the ones who do an awful lot of dirty work (no pun intended) so we can all enjoy the Web in peace.

Seemingly every paragraph brings a revelation, particularly the final ones. Chen documents how these workers often wind up psychologically affected by viewing non-stop, as he puts it, “the infinite variety of human depravity. They begin to suspect the worst of people they meet in real life, wondering what secrets their hard drives might hold.”

It’s a strange but powerful story.

Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories of the Week”? E-mail me at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com.

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