Friday, February 15, 2013
Narrative at the heart of human rights stories
Jonathan Groubert's teaching article "The Talkumentary", featured on Transom.org, simply blew me away today. Transom.org is a fantastic site in general, dedicated to encouraging narrative and bringing new voices to public radio. Jonathan Groubert, the host of the Radio Netherlands show "The State We're In," talks writers through the birth and death of a radio show. "The State We're In," which was also available in the U.S. for a while, was devoted to covering human rights stories. Here's what thrills my heart: the lesson they learned was that you cannot cut to the heart with a human rights story unless you understand how to tell a good story. The facts could be (and generally are) deeply moving, but at the very base you need a strong understanding of narrative. Groubert follows his own advice, structuring his article as a story. He offers an example of an early "terrible show," then shows examples of how they moved from bottom to highly effective.
Not interested in the writing know-how? Skip to the end for the most moving story I have heard in a while, "Two Enemies, One Heart."