everybody has a story

PODCAST EPISODE #56: Les Rose, CBS News & Syracuse University


How did I know I should interview Les Rose for my podcast?

A bunch of journalists told me so, and in rapid succession.

Les was the keynote speaker at last month’s Sound of Life Storytelling Workshop in Asheville, NC, at which I was delighted to speak as well. After Rose spoke, a handful of workshop attendees mentioned to me they would love to hear more of his advice and wisdom.

This should not be a surprise. Rose is a storytelling legend, working for nearly four decades in broadcast journalism and more than two decades with CBS News. The photojournalist and field producer spent seven years involved with Steve Hartman’s famous “Everybody Has a Story” segment. Clearly, his credentials are impeccable.

But so is his passion.

An hour after the workshop ended, I peeked back into the room where it was held and saw this:

That’s Rose at the podium, showing his pieces to a handful of faithful attendees, hosting his own mini-workshop long after the official one had concluded.

This man loves this craft, and it shows in his current day job as a professor of broadcast and digital journalism at Syracuse University. It’s why he’s my guest on Episode #56 of the Telling the Story podcast. Rose and I had a great conversation about a variety of topics, from his storytelling approach to his secrets for sustaining passion in a business that can often test it.


Squirrels, Steve Hartman, & storytelling through details

Every Saturday morning, when the weather is nice, I take a walk around the block.

Of course, living in the heart of Atlanta, my block is a city street that features high-rises, an office complex, and a hotel. But it leads to a massive park, and it is a great gateway to a number of enjoyable routes.

I have walked down that street numerous times … and then, on a recent Saturday morning, I saw it differently.

Before that day, I barely acknowledged the yards and grass in front of the buildings; I noticed the green swaths in front of me, naturally, but I never gave them a second thought. I simply kept listening to whatever was playing in my earbuds, enjoying the wide view of the street, and moving along.

But on this day, I decided I would pay attention. I would look around for details, wherever I could find them, that I would not otherwise notice.

And when I looked at the yards, I saw squirrels.

Lots of them.

Chowing down on grass blades and acorns.

The following Saturday, I looked again — and, once more, I saw the squirrels.

Now I see them whenever I walk by. And I always think to myself, “How did I never notice them before?” These are living creatures, existing en masse right in front of me, yet they never registered in my mind or my eyes.

These are the kinds of details that pass by journalists and storytellers every day. (more…)