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Back to basics: the power of storytelling

Back to basics: the power of storytelling

This fall, I was invited to be a speaker at a media training conference organized by the United Nations in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby and the Media Counsel of Papua New Guinea. It was a privilege to travel to this emerging country and use my 20 years of experience at CNN and with my clients at Magid to teach journalistic concepts and present new ideas to young journalists, students, and community members. But it was also a powerful learning experience for me – even more so than I had imagined it might be.

As we look to the future of broadcast, we often set our sights on emerging technology or what’s next for digital strategy – but it’s equally important to continue to put time, energy and resources into storytelling.

Power of storytelling
The post-Millennial generation, known as Gen Z or Plurals, is bucking the trend of using social media to document a filtered view of their lives, and shifting from a polished social media presence to a new focus on raw, real moments. They’re leading the charge in the movement toward authentic storytelling.

I witnessed this shift in Papua New Guinea, where students are using communication channels like Facebook and texting to not only tell their stories, but to actually organize and create real movements that have changed government programs. These young people are harnessing the power of storytelling to change the world.

Technology is a tool, not the story
A mobile device has become the most powerful thing a person can own to tell a story. In countries like Papua New Guinea, it’s the great equalizer – empowering people of all ages, abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds to be reporters and communicate to the world through photos, videos and text. Those with the passion and drive to tell stories are using technology as a tool to connect with the world in real ways.

Active, engaged anchors
At Magid, we’ve studied the role of the active anchor in today’s local media landscape, and we know viewers expect their local anchors to start conversations and provide perspectives. Put more simply, as I reinforced with students in the media training workshops – people matter first. As we put together a story, we need to think of our viewers first. When we can give in-depth, authentic stories that provide perspectives that matter most to our viewers, that’s the power of storytelling.

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