3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Red Rocks, yo-yos, & “the lady uniform”

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.

Celebrating 75 years of Red Rocks Amphitheater (9/5/16, KDVR-TV): Maybe it’s too easy.

Maybe it’s too easy to attempt a 20-minute special when the subject is such a ready-made stunner.

And maybe it’s too easy to do so with not one or two photographers, but more than a half-dozen.

But there’s nothing easy about the craft and creativity that went into this exquisite show from KDVR-TV, honoring the captivating Red Rocks Amphitheater on its 75th birthday.

Everyone involved deserves credit for such a compelling tribute to a fitting subject, but I want to specifically shout out the photographers. Yes, they had the built-in benefit of covering one of the most visually beautiful sites in the world, but they didn’t waste the chance, continually finding unique stories to tell and presenting characters as memorable as the amphitheater itself. Every piece is a winner, but I particularly enjoyed the segment with Blues Traveler, shot by Bryant Vander Weerd, Chris Mosher, and Isaias Medina.

The story behind the Quad Cities ‘yo-yo man’ (8/31/16, WQAD-TV): This piece is a tenth of the length of the Red Rocks special, but it required a similar effort to do correctly.

It comes from reporter Elizabeth Wadas and photographer Andy McKay at WQAD-TV in the Quad Cities region of Iowa and Illinois. It deals with a man who can often be spotted running around town while doing tricks with a neon yo-yo.

Wadas and McKay tell a seemingly straightforward story, but they reveal quite a few nuances along the way. Wadas layers the script with a variety of moments, and McKay gets exquisitely framed shots of a man constantly on the move (not an easy, task, I can tell you …). Together, they profile an individual whose heart becomes more apparent with every sound bite and yo-yo-filled shot.

I’m a TV newswoman, and no thanks on the lady uniform (6/14/16, StarTribune.com): This past week, KARE-TV anchor Jana Shortal became the target of a newspaper columnist who criticized the way she dressed on the air.

The article was disappointing and disheartening. The response from readers and viewers who came to Shortal’s defense? Far more impressive.

Shortal herself provided a heartfelt Facebook post about the incident, but rather than point to that or the original article, I want to share this column written by the anchor nearly three months earlier. She speaks with eloquence, defiance and conviction about why she makes the fashion choices she does.

I wish columns like these did not need to be written. Until that day comes, I appreciate people like Shortal who choose to write them.

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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