Puppies Cure All

I learned a lot over the course of this term as a blogger. I learned how to find my voice as a writer and share my personality through words. As a class assignment this blog sometimes seemed like a hassle. But each week when I sat down with the week’s current events and chose what to write on, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. Who doesn’t like sharing their own opinions? Oh you can answer that? Then your friend definitely is not a public relations major.

So I want to share a video that expresses how happy I was/am each time one of you liked or commented on my blog. My journey of storytelling and finding out how to tell a good story does not end here. But I want to thank you for reading and making me feel like this puppy.

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HTML: What are the Symptoms?

 

Photo from Flikr user: Aymane REMMAL

Photo from Flikr user: Aymane REMMAL

Vouchercloud.net (a coupon website) recently embarrassed Americans yet again.

I don’t even want to lead you into these facts. Just read them and feel bad about the technology-challenged society we live in, in the United States.

A study was conducted to determine how knowledgeable users are regarding technology. The results are at first surprising. Then they are sad.

See if you know the answers. Continue reading

Cat Funerals

Courtesy of The Chrisman Family

Courtesy of The Chrisman Family

Looking to get into the radio industry, I helped create a campus radio program here at the University of Oregon. Inspired by NPR’s “This American Life,” our show is This Oregon Life (get it, get it?).

As you can tell, I LOVE STORIES. And This Oregon Life is all about storytelling. Especially stories that Continue reading

Making an Infographic: Radio is Alive

Infographic by Meredith Morrell

Infographic by Meredith Morrell

As print media readership declines and translates to the Internet, radio is effortlessly making the same transition. I can tell you a stat about world radio usage, or I can show you. There lies the beauty of infographics: showing not telling (haven’t heard that from me before, have ya?).

But the trouble with creating an infographic is deciding on the data, how to tell the data’s story and the design. So here is my thought process as I created my infographic.

Data: First of all, pick an interesting topic. Infographics may be perceived as more “graphic” than “info,” but the overall purpose is to inform.

Data question I had to answer: What facts will surprise people and influence them?

Story: Tells the reader why the topic matters to them.

Story question I had to answer: How can I motivate people to listen to radio?

Design: Presenting the data in a crisp and delightful way.

Design question I had to answer: What aesthetics are connected to radio?

There are some very cool and innovative depictions of data out there. Go to Pinterest and search “infographic.” I guarantee you won’t be able to stop scrolling.

Sorry Not Sorry? Then Don’t Apologize

Image via Tumblr User tumblr18

I have a habit of telling my friends to stop apologizing to me.  I think apologies are meaningful and substantial, when necessary. (Key word, when) I often hear others saying things like: “Sorry I’m late, there was crazy traffic,” and “Sorry I’m so tired my neighbor’s dog kept me up all night.”

Not only should you not be sorry for things out of your control, but saying sorry reflects poorly on the apologizer (just found out that’s actually aword) by showing vulnerability and putting the emphasis on the act of apologizing. Rather, the emphasis should be put on improving the situation that has accepted an apology.

Your personal brand and story doesn’t need “apologetic” connected to it.

Don Seidman, founder of the firm LRN that advises companies on their cultures, calls this new fad of heavily apologizing, “Apology-washing.” “Neither the apologizer nor the recipient, because the act regurgitates a social norm rather than launching an emotional process,” says Seidman.

This “verbal escape route” begins when we are children. I believe I am so passionate about this subject because I have worked with young children for so long and was taught to not force an apology. Instead of saying “Jimmy, tell Katie you’re sorry you hit her.” I was taught to respond with, “Jimmy, do you see that hitting Katie made her sad and walk away from you?” Forward-thinking is the answer.

Spouting out “sorry” can appear insincere or a placeholder for sharing the feelings that arose from the situation in question.

If this sounds deep for personal relationships, think about the relationships companies have with their customers. “Too Many Sorry Excuses for Apology” inspired this post and provides recent public apologies such as Target, Chris Christie and LeBron James.

As New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin says,  “The age of the apology is clearly upon us.”

Typography is Cool (Just Ask Ira Glass)

Ira Glass’s voice never ceases to put me at ease. I have a weekly ritual of doing homework while listening to NPR’s podcast “This American Life”—the radio show that made Ira Glass’s voice famous (see my previous post “3 Podcasts You Should Listen To”).

As a professional storyteller (see his 4 part YouTube storytelling series), Ira understands how to get listeners to pay attention through an audio platform. So I was SO excited when I saw visual storyteller Daniel Sax adapted Ira’s teachings into a short film.

As Maria Popova says in her article, “Ira Glass on the Secret of Success in Creative Work, Animated Kinetic Typography” the gist of Ira’s message is: “that grit is what separates mere good taste from great work, and that the only way to bridge the gap between ability and ambition is to actually do the work.”

This question of good taste is echoed in the short film. And this question of taste is shown through the power of typography. As Ira narrates the short film, Continue reading

Stories Through Pictures: “Where Children Sleep”

Image

I love pictures that tell a story as a collection; especially when  the set of photos are from different locations around the world.

This fascination of photographing a single aspect of everyday life or an everyday object in different places began when I traveled to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Peru last winter. Something as simple as a door has a whole new sense of beauty once seen from a new perspective.

So I photographed hundreds of doors. Each door tells a separate story. And together, they tell another story.

In James Mollison’s photography book, “Where Children Sleep,” he tells, “stories of diverse children around the world… through portraits and pictures of their bedrooms.”

Next to a portrait of the child is a photo of where they sleep (some have a bedroom while others have a communal sleeping space). Some kiddos have the traditional items thought to be in a bedroom: bed, toys and games, while others do not have these items. Instead where they sleep is barren and without anything colorful or childish.

Mollison doesn’t tell a story about children’s rights, he shows it. And to me, that is the greatest gift of a storyteller: showing not telling.

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“Where Children Sleep” features diverse lifestyles, from four-year-old Kaya in Tokyo, Japan whose room has hundreds of toys and extravagant dresses, to nine-year-old Alex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil whose room is a couch outside of a shack.

Seeing insulation pour out of a child’s ceiling grabs my attention more than a statistic about unsafe living conditions ever could. These pictures inform and elicit curiosity. The viewer is then able to read an extensive caption if desired to learn more.

The featured children are from rich families, poor families, families who live in the snow and families who live in the desert. Mollison says, “From the start, I didn’t want it just to be about ‘needy children’ in the developing world, but rather something more inclusive, about children from all types of situations.”

While the book started as a children’s right project (and later fell through), Mollison claims that he is not pushing an agenda; he wants to share the images and stories that moved him.

As millennial attention spans shorten, I believe photos are going to be telling more stories than words.

Here is a quote from James Mollison that I want to end on:

“I hope this book will help children think about inequality, within and between societies around the world, and perhaps start to figure out how, in their own lives, they may respond.” 

Stories Through Pictures: @HistoryInPics

A picture is not only worth a thousand words, but those words are then up for debate depending on the viewer.  Interpretation allows pictures to resonate—or not—with viewers for different reasons.

There are certain photos that almost everyone has seen at one time or another and there is an attached feeling because we have a—perhaps false—sense of closeness to these photos. But when we see something fresh and yet familiar, that’s when it goes viral.

Heard of @HistoryInPics? With two teenagers behind the 1.06 million followers and growing Twitter page, familiar historical photos are shared with a new twist. Continue reading