You, and this story.
The first image I saw of them was taken by a firefighter.
They were huddled together in a doorway. They looked exhausted, as if in shock.
It’s easy to overlook the effects of fires as large as the Carr Fire in California if you don’t risk losing your home or property.
It’s easy to tsk tsk at the grandmother and two children who died together because the grandfather had gone to warn an even older neighbor.
Neither of these forces us to feel what those that love them feel.
And that’s why I was surprised when this picture made me so emotional.
Cats and birds don’t normally become friends.
Each of these was injured in the fire and when the firefighters discovered them, they sent them to safety in a wire crate…
together in the wire crate, because they didn’t want to be separated.
Anyone can read a couple of sentences about a fire.
Facts: number of firefighters, number of evacuees, the containment percentage, structures lost.
None of that conveys real emotion.
Can you tell this story, and place this picture of two traumatized animals in your listeners minds?
Can you help me feel how terrified, how desperate, how abandoned they must have felt?
Because, if you can, that will set you apart from almost everyone I’ve heard who’s tried to tell this story.
The panic, the fear – fear so overwhelming you can’t breathe, you can’t think, you can’t move.
Can you make me feel the raw emotion that has to be a part of this fire?
The grief, the guilt that grandfather must feel. Fighting for optimism and hope when you’ve lost everything you’ve loved.
The pets and animals who had no one to help them out, horses, deer, cats and dogs, every living creature in the path of this huge fire.
Worry about what comes next.
Thankful for the courageous men and women on the fire lines giving every ounce of effort they have to save what is yours.
Stunned, overwhelmed at how quickly life changes forever.
The more you can personalize your stories, the greater their impact will be.
Write this story in a way that makes you cry. Find a way to feel what this must’ve felt like to those losing so much.
That’s what the best air talent would do.
I hope that’s what you do.