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.
#MeToo: Rape on the Night Shift (1/20/18, Reveal Podcast): With momentum for the #MeToo movement growing mainly in Washington and Hollywood, credit the producers and reporters at the Reveal podcast for investigating its impact in more hidden venues.
This episode repurposes a report from 2015 about an epidemic of rape and assault among female janitors. The report grips and devastates, and it leads into a follow-up and several strong discussions about the future of #MeToo. This is exactly what journalism should do: inform listeners about an issue, expose them to unheard stories in a compelling way, and expand their overall awareness and understanding moving forward.
Mock trade deadline 2018 (1/24/18, Dunc’d On Podcast): This, meanwhile, is among the best of what a sports podcast can do: indulge the desires of its listeners with a three-episode hypothetical that secretly makes them smarter.
The Dunc’d On Podcast has become legendary in NBA circles for its mock trade deadline marathons. This year, hosts Nate Duncan and Danny Leroux brought in ESPN’s Kevin Pelton and NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman to simulate the potential dealings of every team, right down to the last guys on the bench. Anyone can envision this idea, but these hosts execute it superbly because of their front-to-back knowledge of the league, its franchises, and their players.
The astronaut who might actually get us to Mars (February 2018, Texas Monthly): The state of Texas continues to deliver some of the country’s most engrossing storytelling.
Katy Vine of Texas Monthly presents a long-form piece about an astronaut going against the consensus to get us to Mars. His name is Franklin Chang Diaz, and his personal and professional histories provide more than enough fodder for a well-deserved spotlight. That said, I particularly appreciated how Vine framed the story. She begins with a broad, get-’em-in-the-tent statement that sets the tone for the specifics that follow:
“We like to tell stories—often in blockbuster films and children’s books—that dramatize a direct path from the initial spark of an idea to its realization. Decades of hard work and failed attempts are condensed into a brief montage that concludes with triumph. … Except, we know, the actual narrative is more complicated.”
Have a suggestion for “3 Great Stories”? E-mail me at email@example.com.