The Good Story

What makes a good story?

This is a question every journalist would ask.

If a story is “good”, it can be pitched to a media outlet. It has the potential to be published. It has the potential to generate impact upon society. It’s worthy to be published.

But how exactly would an aspiring journalist know what type of stories could appeal to the masses? After all, we write for our audiences.

The are “news values”, a not-so hidden secret of journalists practising their craft in English-speaking countries.

As an aspiring journalist, however, I believe news in this day and age does not accurately depict or reflect the state of society as a whole and rather displays the extremes, what media consumers want – sex, drugs, violence and animals (yes, puppies and cats).

Brandon Stanton, the man behind Humans of New York (HONY), offers his insight on “The Good Story” and with the same idiosyncratic style as the photographs in his highly successful blog – simple, raw and real.

Street photography is his expertise but extracting personal information from strangers is a truly powerful gift. Brandon’s story is just as inspirational as every picture. You can read about it here.

As a person fascinated by the everyday human experience, HONY is heaven on earth. It offers a slice of life, exhibiting nuances of raw emotion. Journalists don’t report about the ordinary and instead the bizarre. But really, what HONY captures is a breath of fresh air. Through HONY’s lens, the everyday is anything but mundane. If only we could all see the world through his lens.

After all, when a guy takes a photograph of a stranger living their life in their own little space on earth and somehow obtain quotable quotes then makes you feel good to be a part of the human race… that’s something rare and one of a kind, isn’t? That’s probably a good story.

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The Secrets People Tell

“How I wish I could hug everyone and tell them that it’s okay. It’s okay to be scared and angry and hurt and selfish. It’s part of being human,”
Frank Warren, PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives

It is highly addictive. You want to know what nobody knows or at least, you’d like to think so.

Earthlings who may or may not have a broken family, a BMW, an apartment and a fluffy dog named “Fluffy” would send a postcard to Frank Warren’s address. It then gets published in the PostSecret website and with a touch of a finger, people from China to Iceland to Nepal and every other place in between will know your secret. Except they won’t know it’s yours.

Founder Frank Warren can quite possibly bring us closer and make us feel more connected through the “largest advertisement-free blog in the world”: PostSecret. Or does it?

For some who enjoy “people watching” and imagining how strangers live their lives or those whose curiosity simply cannot be contained, these raw and real confessions are a glimpse into the unknown: a snippet of a person’s life.

Source: http://www.justjared.com/2007/03/11/post-secret-mystery-celebrity-dad/

Perhaps as we look through a tiny hole, created by every secret revealed, we might come to see signs of desperation, hear the voice of the voiceless or feel a tinge of joy in humanity’s unheralded achievements – all depending on the way you interpret the words on the postcard, each is a product of a person’s creativity.

PostSecret ask people to:

 Reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.

Heart wrenching, alarming, poignant, profound, ridiculously funny – you never know what to expect. Like a thread that binds all secrets, one thing you can find in common is the inexplicable feeling upon seeing humanity at its finest: beautiful, flaws and all.

Who knows, maybe someone you know revealed something they’d never tell you or perhaps you may come across a secret you keep to yourself.

For Mother’s Day secrets that will shock you, inspire you or make you feel lucky enough to have a mum visit http://www.postsecret.com/

Listen to the founder himself and may it give you something good, no matter what it is.

“It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.” ― Frank Warren

Beautiful

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have
known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and
have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an
appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that
fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving
concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

— Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

Enough said. Who are the beautiful people in your life?Have you told them yet? Give them a hug. Make them smile. Spread the love!

Why Rainy Days are THE Best

Image

All I could say was WOW.

A solid effort. Solidarity. Teamwork. Humanity at its finest.

I love rainy days, don’t you? I write and read and I travel to the world of make-believe. Hot tea and biscuits, curled up in bed is good too. But one rainy day, my friend and I were out and about doing our talk-walkathon because well, we’re cool like that. And then we saw a big group of people holding a blue tarpaulin above their heads.

It’s funny how rainy days somehow bring out the best in us. Don’t you agree?

Gumtree and Shirley

“You are soo beautiful.”

Those were the first words she uttered. Not hi or hello.  She looked at me for a brief moment with a genuine smile on her face. It was a sincere compliment, no doubt. It was quite strange but in a good way, of course.

“Hi, I’m Shirley. How do you do?”

We shook hands and I couldn’t help but smile because I was at awe. I was still trying to process what she had said. It was very unexpected and random, to be honest. My brother and I picked up a  gorgeous solid, hardwood table from her house after seeing an advertisement on Gumtree.

The table did not fit in the car. Well, it took a long time before we figured out how to make it fit in the car. Judging from her accent, Shirley is probably British and from her wedding ring, it’s safe to assume that she’s either married or widowed.

“Your mum is so lucky to have both of you.”

“Oh, we’re lucky to have her!”

I wanted to know more about her and her life but I think I’ve covered the basics. Shirley has a calm, gentle nature – a sincere, polite woman probably in her late fifties. She is a beautiful soul. That’s all I needed to know.

What’s the best random compliment you received from a stranger?