Storytelling 101 with Ira Glass

Ira Glass’s storytelling youtube videos, he discusses concepts on how to become a strong, engaging storyteller.

His first video highlights the two main building blocks of the art – the anecdote and the moment of reflection. The anecdote is a sequence of actions. In a story form, no matter how boring the sequence of actions are, there is momentum and suspense which implies to the listener that there is a destination. The moment of reflection tells the listener why they are listening to the story, and what benefit they are getting from it. Often, storytellers will have a powerful anecdote but no moment of reflection, or a boring anecdote but lots to reflect on. Either way, the story is compromised. It’s important to have both building blocks in order to create a good story.

In Glass’s second video, he emphasizes how the amount of time taken to find a great story is often overlooked. Glass recommends that a storyteller spend just as much time, if not more, finding that perfect story. He encourages being ambitious, tough, and ruthless when it comes to killing story ideas. Killing a mediocre story allows an even better story to come about and live.

In his third and fourth videos, Glass touches on mistakes beginners often make. Upon involving themselves in the world of journalism, beginners have good taste but often have difficulty executing that said good taste due to lack of skills. Be patient and don’t quit, he says. It takes lots of practice and hands on work to become a talented storyteller. He also recommends making all stories interactive and multi-character to keep the listener engaged. Nobody wants to listen to a story where it’s all about one person from one standpoint!

These videos helped a ton with learning storytelling skills. I look forward to learning more throughout the class!

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TRT Thru Hike

In July of this year, I made the crazy decision to quit my job and hike the Tahoe Rim Trail. I used the money I had saved up in June to buy backpacking gear, and hit the trail on the 16th.

Day 1: Tunnel Creek Road to Marlette Campground

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Day 2: Marlette Campground to Spooner Summit

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Day 3: Spooner Summit to Kingsbury Grade

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Day 4: South Lake Tahoe (day off!)

Day 5: Kingsbury Grade South to Star Lake

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Day 6: Star Lake to Star Lake

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Day 7: Star Lake to Grass Lake Creek

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Day 8: Grass Lake Creek to Showers Lake

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Day 9: Showers Lake to Tamarack Lake

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Day 10: Tamarack Lake to Middle Velma Lake

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Day 11: Middle Velma Lake to Richardson Lake

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Day 12: Richardson Lake to Tahoe City

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Day 13: Tahoe City to Watson Lake

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Day 14: Watson Lake to Relay Peak

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Day 15: Relay Peak to Tunnel Creek Road

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JOUR275: Tunnel Creek Avalanche article response

For my multimedia journalism class, we read the New York Times article, Snow Fall: the Avalanche at Tunnel Creek, by John Branch. After reading and analyzing the article, we were told to write a response and post it on our blog.

This article was enjoyable to read and very engaging. I loved the multimedia aspect of the presentation – the videos and graphics helped break up the text and made the long story readable. As young media consumers growing up in this technological age, it’s hard for us to stay attentive while reading long, long blocks of solid text. The multimedia helped the article stay fun and engaging and prevented the reader from getting bored or distracted.

My favorite was the visual motion graphic displayed in the Tunnel Creek section of the article, which gave the reader a birds eye view of the Cascades in Leavenworth, WA. The view moves over to Stevens Pass Ski Area, to Cowboy Mountain, and finally to the Tunnel Creek backcountry. Text description of a location is one thing, but having a visual representation really instills the image in the reader’s mind and makes the viewer feel so much more involved in the story.

Another piece of the story that I enjoyed was how it began. The writer began the story as a narrative of a few of the skiers that were in the avalanche that day. It helped the reader feel as if they were there with the victims. However, a few paragraphs in, he shifts and begins listing more factual information about the story. I enjoyed this and it made me want to keep reading, since I wanted to know what happened to the skiers who I read about at the beginning of the story.

Crazy fact: One of the new students I recently met at Sierra Nevada College, Jake, is from Leavenworth, Washington. He lives near the Stevens Pass ski area and is big into backcountry skiing. Believe it or not, Jake was actually invited to go ski with the people in the article who were victims of the avalanche. However, his dad was sick that day and didn’t want Jake to go alone, as he was only a young kid at the time. Scary stuff.