3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Niagara Falls, skydiving, and snails

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.

First thing’s first: this web site looks a little bit different.

I am excited to introduce some visual changes to the Telling The Story blog, thanks to an exciting new WordPress theme that will give me numerous options as a blogger and storyteller. Take a look around:

  • Click on the icon in the top-left corner to see a slide-out sidebar full of options.
  • Check out the various posts, and notice the color-coding that now exists for each category.
  • Most of all, enjoy! The content will remain the same — 3 Great Stories every Monday and a fresh commentary or podcast every Wednesday — but with some visual perks and additions.

Without further ado, let’s kick off the second year of the Telling The Story blog with three terrific stories from this past week:

(Not so) frozen Niagara Falls (3/5/14, WGRZ-TV Buffalo): This piece found a soft spot in my heart.

Not only does it come from my former stomping grounds (Buffalo, NY), my former employer (WGRZ-TV, the city’s NBC affiliate), and my former co-worker (reporter Dave McKinley), but it lovingly showcases the area’s greatest claim to fame:

Niagara Falls.

This is not, however, some sort of travelogue or profile of the Falls. It is a clever snapshot, written by McKinley in rhyming couplets, of an out-of-the-ordinary moment for the tourist destination. This winter’s polar vortex had frozen the Falls — or, at least, that is what many had heard. The buzz fueled several uncharacteristically busy days for the waterfall, thanks to mostly local visitors.

Watch this story for the writing, the photography, and the overall phenomenon. It found its way onto several major networks, and deservedly so.

Soldier surprises sons from the sky (2/28/14, WAVE-TV Louisville): Here is a story of David beating Goliath.

Let me be clear: I am not referring to the actual story — a heart-warming feature about a soldier returning to the United States and surprising his two boys by skydiving to them.

I am referring to the making of this story. In theory, a viewer would walk away amazed at how James Thomas shot the skydive — with a slew of GoPros and a wireless microphone that enabled him to capture the event with unprecedented coverage.

But the memorable moment here is a simple one, shot with one camera, that comes immediately after the soldier, Spc. Ted Treece, lands and sees his kids.

They hug, and one son responds to all the fanfare with the following line:

“Guess what? I can show you where my school is.”

It is adorable — expertly set up by reporter Maira Ansari — and a reminder that the heart of a great story usually comes from its characters and relationships.

Snail kiss on cherries (3/7/14, One Big Photo): I leave you with something simple yet beautiful.

This photo caught my eye this week. It shows, like its title suggests, two snails — each standing on its own cherry stem — reaching out their lips and kissing.

Technically, it is nearly perfect. Photographer Slava Mischenko frames his subjects beautifully, captures great depth between foreground and background, and nails the quintessential moment in what was likely a far longer sequence of action.

Above all, though, he found an absorbing, rarely seen subject. Sometimes, that happens via luck; sometimes, that happens thanks to the photographer’s eye.

No matter how it happened here, it results in a beautiful photo.


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

2 thoughts on “3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Niagara Falls, skydiving, and snails

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  2. faker lol says:

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