ben garvin

3 GREAT STORIES: Starring marathoners, bourbon guitars, & bus drivers

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.

#whyirun: The stories of five runners of the Twin Cities Marathon (10/6/16, KARE-TV): My blog has been a little sparse lately, due to a vacation and my observance of the Jewish High Holidays. But even though I won’t be posting a full entry this week (Wednesday, my normal posting day, is Yom Kippur), I wanted to shout out three stories from last week that made me smile.

The first comes from a man I once interviewed for my podcast and who has since been featured regularly in this space: Ben Garvin. The photojournalist/videographer has become a never-ending source of creative storytelling at Minneapolis/St. Paul’s KARE-TV.

Here he presents a five-in-one profile of runners in the Twin Cities Marathon, but he does it with a visual style that is unparalleled. He uses dramatic photographs and slow-motion videos, and he never speaks; he simply uses the audio of interview clips from the runners themselves, creating an arresting and eye-catching piece.

I am a huge fan of what Garvin brings to the table, and I love the creativity and passion he injects into this field.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring advice, Roger Ailes, & a big ear

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.

A farewell guide to political journalism (9/2/16, The Atlantic): When several people I respect Tweet their love for a piece of journalism, I pay attention.

That’s why I clicked on this link, unaware of its subject matter or even its author.

But my expectations were exceeded.

The title here connotes a hot take or think piece mourning the death of political journalism. In reality, it is the opposite; retiring writer Ron Franklin offers the lessons he learned in three decades as a political journalist — lessons that will, one would hope, inspire his successors to keep pushing.

His most empowering takeaway? This paraphrased passage:

“Until that moment, I assumed the people we covered in politics valued pushover journalists. … That might be true on the small stories, but not for the stuff that matters. … I left the meeting knowing that if I ever returned to journalism, I didn’t want to be taken for granted liked the first reporter. I wanted to inspire in my sources … respect and fear.”

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring KARE-TV’s “Breaking the News”

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.

One girl’s card to “Mr. Phil” (7/11/16, KARE-TV): I live in Atlanta, Ga. and have, in my life, spent maybe a week in the Twin Cities.

But I have found myself drawn to a 30-minute local newscast coming straight from Minnesota’s strongest station.

KARE-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul is regarded by many as possessing one of the most talented groups of storytellers in country, both in front of and behind the camera. Earlier this year, the station debuted a new show called “Breaking The News”, which offers an alternative way of looking at the major news in the area — and, sometimes, around the country.

The show delivers, I find, consistently thoughtful takes and treatments. Take the story above, about a third-grader who wrote a card to the “lunch man” at her school named “Mr. Phil”. That man is Philando Castile, whose death has sparked protests nationwide. In this piece, the protests get pushed aside to allow for one girl’s voice, which, in its unintentional innocence, reminds of the humanity in everyone. “Breaking the News” host Jana Shortal conducts a tender interview with the girl, 8-year-old Leila Ramgren, and photographer (and one-time Telling the Story podcast guest) Ben Garvin captures the interview with a set of cameras that enable the emotions to shine.

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PODCAST EPISODE #34: Ben Garvin, photographer, KARE-TV

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When I first started this blog, many newspaper photographers were staring into a future of cutbacks, layoffs, and competition with everyone’s iPhones.

Ben Garvin surveyed the landscape from his perch at the St. Paul Pioneer Press. In 2007 he was named Minnesota Photographer of the Year. In 2011 he was named Journalist of the Year by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Despite the accolades, Garvin knew he was not immune from the large-scale changes occurring across the industry.

But this past year, he found refuge by switching lanes.

Garvin still works as a still photographer, but now he does it for a TV station: KARE-TV in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

And he does it with an innovator’s spirit. Last week I shouted out Garvin in my 3 Great Stories segment for a sweetly touching piece about a grandfather and grandson spending the day together at Vikings training camp. Technically Garvin produced a video, but it consisted strictly of still photos with audio weaved in from Garvin’s interviews.

Garvin is my guest on Episode #34 of the Telling The Story podcast.

Speaking to me from a swing on his porch (!), Garvin discusses a variety of subjects: the ability to be a hybrid in today’s media world; the importance of photographs in social media; and the versatility required to succeed on a higher level.

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3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Bill Cosby, Beijing, & the Vikings

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.

“I’m no longer afraid”: 35 women tell their stories about being assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the culture that wouldn’t listen (7/26/15, New York Magazine): Strength in numbers has rarely seemed so personal.

This piece, written by Noreen Malone of New York Magazine with a portfolio by Amanda Demme, may go down as the definitive story about the many accusations of rape facing comedian Bill Cosby. At the very least, it became a viral sensation this past week for its sheer volume: 35 Cosby accusers stand both together and individually, offering their personal recollections while painting a brutal picture of the once-beloved actor.

Two facets of this story stand out. First, the research: one does not simply get 35 women to come forward publicly about this kind of subject. This undoubtedly required time, effort, and trust, which all show in the resulting piece.

But I also admire the thought that went into how the publication would present this. Everything is done both powerfully and tastefully, right down to the cover photo: the 35 accusers all sit on individual chairs, with an empty seat at the end. Malone, meanwhile, provides poignant context throughout her article, which is a difficult but important read.

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