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Storytelling and Serious News Stories

harrypotterTake a moment to consider the Harry Potter series.  Before Harry Potter, young people rarely became excited about books.  Can you remember the last time one book made such an impact on an international level?

(Pictured at left: Media is cool again, by Noël Zia Lee)

Everyone, young and old, had to read Harry Potter, and everyone anticipated J.K. Rowling’s next installment.  The characters are compelling, the story is imaginative, the writing is clear and easy to read, and the imagery is vivid.

Harry Potter is a series of fantasy books.  I understand that many people read fantasy books to escape reality, but we need to remember that reality is often times much more interesting than fantasy.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t make this stuff up.”?

How can newspapers and magazines inspire the same enthusiasm as Rowling did in her readers?  I am trying to think about how reporters can tell their stories in new and interesting ways.  How can news outlets excite and capture the imagination of their readers without compromising factual content and the serious nature of the news?

escapeThe Daily Show gets viewers excited about news, even if the show is meant to be satirical.  The New York Times is trying to retain readers by updating the design of its print edition.  Journalists have launched their own blogs with the hopes of telling their stories in new ways, without the constraints of a news organization limiting their output.

(Pictured at right: Why escape?, by Sam Judson)

News media should exist in order to inspire citizens to take action and make change.  How will you inspire anyone if your message does not engage someone’s imagination?

Somehow, the news media needs to focus more on titillating creativity and thought; reality should be such a commanding presence that no one feels the need to escape it.

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