3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Team Ortho, Kyle Korver, & laughter

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.

Running for a cause? (11/12/15, KARE-TV): One of the hardest jobs in reporting for television? Making investigative stories look good.

TV stories are often built around moments, and with many pieces, one finds those moments naturally and visually. Investigative journalists must produce those moments informationally and confrontationally — a much tougher task in a visual medium.

In this piece, KARE 11’s A.J. Lagoe and Steve Eckert show how it’s done.

Uncovering deception and monetary misuse from a local non-profit, the duo layers this story with “Didja see that?” moments. Eckert edits nicely the sequence that shows the misuse of funds over several years, and Lagoe leaves the viewer with a jaw-dropper through his final revelation and confrontation with the man behind the non-profit.

Kyle Korver’s Everest (11/13/15, ESPN.com): On the flip side, here is a story whose revelations are entirely enjoyable.

ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh pens a fascinating article about Kyle Korver, the sharpshooting guard for the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks. But in this piece, Korver is simply the base from which many subjects branch out. For examples, through Korver’s exploits over the summer, Haberstroh introduces the reader to the concept of “misogi”:

This was going to be the third year of Korver’s annual misogi (pronounced mih-soe-gee), a centuries-old Japanese spirit-finding ritual that requires undertaking a physical endurance challenge to push your mind and body beyond its known limits.

Last offseason, Korver and his friends came up with the idea to “run” a 5K relay, holding an 85-pound boulder, on the ocean floor. They took turns: dive down, find the rock, pick it up, and run weighted to the bottom, then surface for the next guy to take his turn. Blacking out was a constant concern, but they did it. The previous year, Korver traveled 25 miles uninterrupted on a stand-up paddleboard across the rough waters between the Channel Islands to Santa Barbara.

Haberstroh touches on other issues — the evolving science of keeping athletes healthy; the struggle of recovering from injury — and somehow succeeds in combining them into a digestible, absorbing symphony of an article.

18 months turns into 18 years for Stage 4 cancer survivor (11/13/15, KING-TV): According to this story, Kristin Johnson St. Goddard is a marvel — a beat-the-odds survival story who, as this piece’s title suggests, has far outlived her initial Stage 4 cancer diagnosis.

But what compels here is her personality.

KING5 reporter John Sharify and photojournalist Joseph Huerta tell Kristin’s story, and they showcase a trait perhaps more surprising than her survival: her joyous, often blunt humor. The action zips by so quickly here thanks to hibachi-fast editing from Huerta, yet Kristin cuts through it all with energy and laughter. Her story will make you feel warmth and appreciation, but it won’t make you feel pity; Kristin has no time for it.

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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