3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Passover, paint & Shakespeare

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.

Meet a Southern Baptist matzoh expert (4/18/16, The Sporkful): This week marks the continuation of Passover, the eight-day Jewish holiday celebrating the exodus from Egypt.

Like many Jewish holidays, it is notable for its history as well as its food.

On a holiday where Jews are instructed to give up bread and other leavened products, the most fascinating food is matzoh, or unleavened bread. Very few podcasts would devote a whole episode to the cracker-like cuisine, but The Sporkful is one … and it does a great job.

Host Dan Pashman delves deep into matzoh with several enjoyable interviews, one of which features a Southern Baptist who once played a major role with the Manischewitz company. Like most episodes of The Sporkful, this one is inventive and enjoyable thanks to Pashman’s passion.

Jeremy’s vision (4/21/16, KNSD-TV): Greg Bledsoe is one of the most talented solo video journalists in the country, a two-time recipient of the NPPA’s Solo Video Journalist of the Year award.

Stories like this show why.

Bledsoe presents a profile of Jeremy Sicile-Kira, a young man with autism who often communicates through painting. But Jeremy’s story goes deeper, and Bledsoe shepherds all of it with powerful photography and tender editing. Early on in the piece, Jeremy’s mother says, “The misconception is that if you watch him, and you watch his behavior, that you might think there’s nothing inside.” Bledsoe spends the next two minutes disproving that misconception in a joyous way.

William Shakespeare, playwright and poet, is dead at 52 (4/23/16, New York Times): Call me a sucker, but I really appreciated this.

This past week saw the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. The New York Times commemorated it with a retroactive obituary, as writer Louis Bayard time-traveled to the early 1600s and wrote about Shakespeare as if the legend had just passed away. He then included footnotes from the “present day”, which colored the details of Shakespeare’s life with interesting and often quirky perspective.

I often feel like we often lose sight of history in our present-day chaos, and I always appreciate efforts to bring a new understanding of the actions and figures of the past. Credit the Times and Bayard for helping to provide a modern-day memorial for a magnificent playwright.

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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