3 GREAT STORIES: Starring immigration, caverns, & sign language

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.

Trump’s first roundup (2/20/17, The Marshall Project): In a fractious and volatile media environment, the strongest stories are sometimes the ones that cut through the noise and present simple facts.

This piece from the Marshall Project accomplishes that task with some deep research and poignant storytelling.

Writer Julia Preston examines the first round of ICE raids on undocumented immigrants since the election of Donald Trump as president. With little information from the federal government, Preston seeks out immigration attorneys and other sources to compile data.

In doing so, she develops a clearer picture of how the federal strategy has continued that of President Barack Obama … and how it has changed. One leaves Preston’s piece far more informed.

Luray Caverns’ gold mine for the community (2/24/17, WUSA-TV): I always enjoy Scott Rensberger’s “Open Road” segment on WUSA9 in Washington.

He gets the opportunity to do a unique brand of storytelling that simply doesn’t occur at too many stations, and he doesn’t take it for granted. He experiments with different cameras, techniques, and styles as he presents his pieces.

In this case, Rensberger produces a layered story about a gold mine in Virginia that raises tens of thousands of dollars a year from coins dropped in its wishing well. He tries some interesting tactics, and while they do not always succeed — a musical interlude midway through felt abrupt and out of place — they consistently show a willingness to create something unique for the viewer.

An unlikely friendship (2/22/17, WSYX-TV): This video actually doesn’t have a title.

I found it on WSYX-TV’s Facebook page.

And I’m not the only one. This post has already reached more than a million people.

Photographer Aaron Nestor said, “I was sent to shoot a VOSOT. I felt it deserved a NATPKG.” That’s why he produced a 90-second story about the bond between a deaf employee his coworkers at the Columbus, Ohio AT&T warehouse.

Nestor said he needed 40 minutes to shoot the video and 30 minutes to edit it. That totals roughly an hour of time for a video that has reached a far greater audience online that it could hope to find on the air. I applaud the effort here; it certainly paid off.

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

Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at matt@tellingthestoryblog.com. You can also follow Matt on Facebook and Twitter.

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