3 GREAT STORIES: Starring violins, cheat codes, & Cuba

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.

Only in Indiana: The Awakening (4/6/16, WTHR-TV): One of the best storytelling tandems in local news just produced a gem.

Reporter Kevin Rader and photographer Steve Rhodes always craft powerful, joyous stories for WTHR-TV’s “Only in Indiana” segment. In this case, they turn their gaze to a young boy named Elias, blind and deaf since birth, and his “awakening” with a musical instrument.

To say much more would mean spoiling a truly beautiful piece. Rader offers tender narration while Rhodes provides his usual exquisite editing; I have profiled these two before, and I have no doubt I will mention them again in this space before too long.

How the Warriors discovered the cheat code to basketball in the 2015 NBA Finals (4/11/16, ESPN: The Magazine): Speaking of reliable reporters, Kevin Arnovitz has developed a deserved reputation as one of the NBA’s strongest writers.

Take, for example, his descriptions and depictions in this paragraph near the start of this article about the Golden State Warriors:

It’s little surprise, then, that Game 1 turns out to be a jittery first date. The Warriors can’t hit a shot in the first quarter. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green hunt for looks, but finding good ones in the structure of the offense — and even in transition — proves difficult. The Dubs recover, locking in defensively and inducing 38 shots from LeBron James and 31 from the Cavs beyond the arc, where Cleveland hits only nine. The Cavs’ body count mounts, as Kyrie Irving goes down with a season-ending knee injury. And in OT, as the Cavs fail to score on their first 10 possessions, the Warriors escape 108-100. Still, something is off for the Warriors. And James, playing in his fifth straight Finals, plans to exploit it. “It’s up to us now to look at the film, watch and make some adjustments and be ready for Sunday,” James says.

Arnovitz never wastes a word, and he captures the frenetic and strategic nature of basketball in general and the NBA Finals in particular. This retrospective on last year’s championship series between Stephen Curry’s Warriors and LeBron James’ Cavaliers is a must-read.

What, reserve a table? Cubans confront a new dining culture (4/4/16, New York Times): Few newspapers these days — or publications in general — provide straightforward yet insightful international coverage like the New York Times.

Michael Park presents an article that works on both a micro and macro level. On the surface, he observes how Cuban restaurants have noticed a huge uptick in customers and reservations since the recent tourism boom. On a deeper level, Park details how such a seemingly innocuous change has actually created a cultural shift among Cuban citizens.

Like the best pieces from the Times, this one does not attempt to draw definitive conclusions. Instead of predicting the future, Park documents the present — in a way many reporters and publications often fail to do.

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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