3 GREAT STORIES: Starring Niagara Falls, skydiving, and snails

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.

First thing’s first: this web site looks a little bit different.

I am excited to introduce some visual changes to the Telling The Story blog, thanks to an exciting new WordPress theme that will give me numerous options as a blogger and storyteller. Take a look around:

  • Click on the icon in the top-left corner to see a slide-out sidebar full of options.
  • Check out the various posts, and notice the color-coding that now exists for each category.
  • Most of all, enjoy! The content will remain the same — 3 Great Stories every Monday and a fresh commentary or podcast every Wednesday — but with some visual perks and additions.

Without further ado, let’s kick off the second year of the Telling The Story blog with three terrific stories from this past week:

(Not so) frozen Niagara Falls (3/5/14, WGRZ-TV Buffalo): This piece found a soft spot in my heart.

Not only does it come from my former stomping grounds (Buffalo, NY), my former employer (WGRZ-TV, the city’s NBC affiliate), and my former co-worker (reporter Dave McKinley), but it lovingly showcases the area’s greatest claim to fame:

Niagara Falls.


Covering the recovery of Louisville’s Kevin Ware

I walked into work last Monday morning not expecting to hit the road for three days.

I had, of course, already heard about Louisville men’s basketball player Kevin Ware. I had seen the gruesome clip in which he snapped his tibia during Sunday night’s NCAA Tournament game. I also knew he was a local athlete for us at WXIA-TV in Atlanta; Ware went to high school in Conyers, Ga., roughly 30 minutes east, and I knew we would be covering his recovery over the next few days.

I just did not think we would travel to do it.

Yet as soon as I sat down at my desk Monday, my producers greeted me with the proposition of flying to Indianapolis, where Ware had just undergone surgery. By 3 PM photographer Steven Boissy and I had checked in at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport; by 6 PM we had touched down in Indy. I spent the next three days reporting live from the hospital in Indianapolis and the campus of Louisville; we flew back to Atlanta Thursday morning, 12 hours after Ware himself had done so (he joined his fellow Cardinals for the Final Four in Atlanta this past weekend).

I had not road-tripped like that for a story in quite some time. I found myself both surprised and impressed with how the process had changed — mainly, how it had shrunk.

Like everything else in TV news coverage these days, the on-the-road live shot can now be a much physically smaller affair. We did not need to rent a live truck in our various Midwestern cities; instead, Steven brought one of our station’s TVU packs, which use 3G and 4G networks to essentially send a super-crisp Skype shot wherever we desire.

Steven fit the pack and all of its cables in one checked bag … along with all of his clothes.