Covering Hurricane Sandy…
It was an historic storm, impossible to ignore even for stations thousands of miles from the eye.
But don’t give me barometric pressures and statistics.
Tell me stories of courage and loss.
Don’t give me flood depths and wave heights.
Tell me stories of survival and redemption.
Don’t talk to me of billions in losses.
Personalize one loss.
Radio has always been the most intimate of media.
The bigger the scope of the storm, the sharper and more personal your focus must become.
Is it easy to find these stories, especially today when your station is so short-staffed? Of course not! That’s why you so rarely hear them.
But it is easier today than it was 50 years ago, thanks to social media and the internet. Both give you, all by yourself, a way of finding the personal stories within events, no matter where they occur.
It’s not just to stand apart from the crowd of news copy re-writers, although you will.
As every film based on a great book proves, the most vivid pictures are those painted in our minds.
This is what radio should do, because we, uniquely, are designed this way.
Make the massive personal.
Be a story-teller, and aim for my heart, not my ears or eyes.