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02:13

The philosophy of Brian Storm, a visual storyteller

Journalism is struggling to find its place. Brian Storm of MediaStorm challenged the rituals of journalism. Brian does not care whether you call his craft journalism. He says his organization is a media company, “I don’t even know what journalism means, but I know I am a storyteller. There is nothing revolutionary about stories.” Brian Storm visited my Online Media class throughout the semester. He feels he has a special responsibility to represent the voice of people.

People naturally are conditioned to connect with other humans. Storm wants to tap into that wiring. He argues people are unmoved by data and reporter narration. The idea that communicators should not push for change counters their desire to make a difference. He says, “Success for us is more about whether a project educates people about the issues we are trying to tackle. And does it call them to action and inspire them to create change?”

Journalism and mass communication information providers should embed within online communities. His organization uses YouTube, newsletters, Facebook, iTunes, blogs, etc. because he wants it picked up by the “statusphere.”

He tells artistic stories that are rooted in visual logic. Brian forces you to defend your choices — choices of edits, choices of sources, choices of music, etc. He says by not relying on narration he has chosen the most challenging method of storytelling. “People will write the story for you. It is the hardest way because it is subject-driven. You need to get closer to the human condition and to your subjects.”

Brian Storm says, “Students must learn to learn.” A lesson I try to teach. I also hope that I am helping build confidence within them. I want them to challenge and move the field forward.

I wanted to share some of his philosophy on serving other people through his work:

  • “The audience is not apathetic. It is us in the newsroom that are apathetic. The work will be shared if you focus on quality.”
  • “The challenge is to do quality content. Don’t be the noise in the middle. The noise is reporting on stories that are not going to contribute anything meaningful to a community.”
  • “We pick projects that we think have a timeless value to them, that are universal, that speak to the human condition, which I know is a cliche, but that is what we are trying to find and share.You are trying to connect to the character and feed the issue at the end. We care about other people. Don’t lead with issues. Lead with character. If you cannot make a connection, then you cannot make a difference.”

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