Typically I feel more like a minstrel belting ballads and my own brand of lyric poetry as a free gift. Ah, now if only I could cash a fraction of this blog's net worth to fund the tsunami anniversary artisan journalism trek to Asia!!
But you know, actually Kevin Sites is a rock star, Halley. Just read this:
Justice, grace and defiance: What I learned from a pregnant 15-year-old Ugandan girl
Note: Reflections from the Hot Zone is a weekly essay that allows me to explore the more personal and emotional dimensions of reporting -- how these people, their stories and your responses to them are changing me. It is not a daily dispatch, but a personal observation piece, which is why you see more of the personal pronoun "I" in the text.
But as always the Hot Zone is about the human face of world conflict. This column, I hope, will provide additional context to allow you to see those faces more clearly and share with me their ever-growing impact.
Sitting across from this girl, and she is just a girl at fifteen, I can feel the swirl of her emotions just as plainly as I can see the swell of her belly.
Anger, sadness, silence are evident; the confusion of just how the bones of fortune were shaken and thrown in her particular case. She is, at this tender age, both victim and defiant; captive and free; wronged and avenged; child and mother...(More)
I'm reading a celebrity-stalker (that's her beat) journalism college student's blog. She's (I believe it's a she. Sometimes folks think I'm a he, like Evelyn Waugh) just returned from a panel at the Wordfest International Writer's Festival:
All the panelists hinted at this, and by the end of the discussion it had coalesced into, if you want, the take-home message of the thing: We live in a world abundant in information, reportage, stories and news. I walk into the Sun newsroom and I see dozens of reporters sitting at desk, jawing into the phones, writing copy. I log onto the network and bring up the wire services, and the whole world of news is right there, every wire service, every newspaper in the world. I load up google and there’s even more. There are satellites circling the earth to tell people on one side what’s happening on the other. No matter where we are, we live in the nexus of a massive global information industry.
But the information is meaningless. There is no context. The vast majority of us do not care about the news, or if we care, we remain just apathetic enough not to do anything but sigh and say, ‘look at that. Too bad all those people died in wherever.’
So I love Kevin's work because he brings home the world in human faces and personal stories. Mission stated: "We will be aggressive in pursuing the stories that are not getting mainstream coverage and we will put a human face on them. We will not chase headlines nor adhere to pack journalism but vigorously pursue the stories in front of and behind the conflict, the small stories that when strung together illustrate a more complete picture."
I'm such a fan I've started a del.icio.us tag on Kevin. Before his joining Yahoo, you can catch his blog here. The new Yahoo site is a little glossy for my own simple minstrel tastes, but the angle clicks: "News reporting for the new millennium - a nexus of backpack journalism, narrative story-telling techniques, and the Internet, designed to reach a global audience hungry for information."
Aye, hungry for context.
Bonus: Sandwiched between anthropologist (keen observer) and storyteller are the eight other roles in The Ten Faces of Innovation, IDEO's general manager Tom Kelley's terrific new book. Says Tom, "Stories persuade in a way that facts, reports and market trends seldom do, because stories make an emotional connection." At a talk the other day, Tom mentioned some research argues that stories are how our brains store. "No matter what stories you tell - whether they are tours of your cool offices, or video prototypes of new services you're developing, remember the first rule of Storytellers: Keep it authentic and entertaining [hear that minstrels?]. Strike an emotional chord. Make it a story people will want to pass on. Because stories are a part of your personal legacy and the essence of your authentic brand."