3 GREAT STORIES: Starring November sweeps

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.

Bay Area photographer uses kite to capture bird’s-eye view (11/11/14, KGO-TV): November, in TV terms, is a giant ratings month.

Naturally, numerous local TV stations use the month to unleash some of their strongest work.

Such is the case with this clever visual piece from KGO-TV multimedia journalist Wayne Freedman. The industry veteran has received enough awards and done enough powerful stories to fill a book.

The good news is: he can practice what he preaches. Freedman tells the story of a local photographer who has published his own book, featuring photos from a camera the author attaches to a kite. Freedman uses the kite as a photographic device; he combines it with some heartfelt storytelling to produce a smile-worthy piece.

Lessons for Ferguson from Cincinnati (11/12/14, KSDK-TV): Some of the nation’s finest reporters have descended upon St. Louis for the grand jury verdict in Ferguson.

One of those is my newest WXIA-TV colleague Brendan Keefe, a decorated investigative reporter who here puts his previous experience to great use.

Keefe crafts a piece that parallels the Ferguson struggle with a similar situation in Cincinnati, which has since forged a much stronger dialogue on racial issues. It is the kind of thoughtful story that provides much-needed context to a frenetic issue. While Keefe uses some flashy editing tricks, he succeeds here mainly because of his straightforward structure and storytelling.

Ferguson: Why can’t we talk? (11/14/14, KSDK-TV): Speaking of context, struggle, and Ferguson, I don’t think I have seen a better story this year than this one, which covers all three.

This comes from “3 Great Stories” mainstay Boyd Huppert and photographer Jeff Christian, who put together this beautiful tapestry of individual stories and perspectives in order to tackle the overarching question of racial tension in St. Louis.

Everything about this story is exquisite, from Huppert’s usual sensitive writing to Christian’s pristine editing; not a single shot, sound bite, or line of script is wasted here. The duo give this story the treatment it deserves, and they produce a poignant story as a result.

Young storytellers, or any storyteller: watch this story, and watch it again.

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

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