3 GREAT STORIES: Starring seafarers, Greenland, & Super Mario

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.

Seattle mission serves foreign ship crews who cannot come ashore (12/28/16, KING-TV): As we turn the calendar to 2017, here is a touching, deceptively straightforward piece worth watching from 2016.

Ted Land with Seattle’s KING-TV is an especially talented solo video journalist, as well as a one-time podcast guest of mine and one of the interview subjects of my new how-to book for MMJs, The Solo Video Journalist. He is also a former National Edward R. Murrow winner for writing, and in this story he displays why.

Land tackles a seemingly simple subject — a Christian group that puts together care packages for foreign seafarers who dock in Seattle — but puts immense care into every word and shot. One needn’t work too hard to spot picturesque shots along the Pacific Ocean, but Land goes further and finds some of the most beautifully framed clips of video I’ve seen all year (2016, not this year).

That work ethic shows up throughout the piece, and it culminates in a winner of a story from a tremendous storyteller.

With enough evidence, even skepticism will thaw (12/30/16, Washington Post): Speaking of work, it’s all over the place here.

It would need to be to produce a story with this much breadth and power.

Washington Post reporters Chris Mooney and Whitney Shefte — and, I’d imagine, others behind-the-scenes — present a multimedia investigation that takes them all the way to Greenland. A glacier is losing chunks of ice the size of multiple Manhattans, and it is erasing the skepticism about the effects of global warming.

Everything about this piece is gripping. Mooney’s words and storytelling shine throughout, but so do the visuals that pepper the display, including a seven-minute video story that covers the top of the screen when you click on the article.

This is important, moving, powerful journalism.

How Super Mario became a global cultural icon (12/24/16, The Economist): This is not important, moving, powerful journalism.

But it’s pretty darn entertaining.

For some reason, I cannot find the name of whoever wrote this on the web page of The Economist that features the article. But whoever it is, she or he turn a wonderful tale about the growth and impact of the one and only Super Mario. This piece ran in the Christmas issue of The Economist, and it fits such a mindset beautifully. It takes you to Japan, Brazil, and America on a joyous romp through the history of a remarkable video game character. But it also looks into the future and provides more relevant analysis than one might expect, given the subject matter.

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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