If you tell a good story then people will pay attention.
At least, that’s been my experience filming, photographing and writing about international development issues for NGOs and nonprofits. But when it comes to reporting on international development issues, there’s a tendency to fall into cliché storytelling: Person A had a problem, NGO B showed up and enrolled Person A in their program, then Person A’s life improved dramatically. We’ve all told this story before. I know I have. The cliché story or photograph isn’t a terrible one; it just doesn’t do justice to people’s complex lives.
I started this blog because I want to explore different and nuanced ways of telling good stories about international development and humanitarian issues. In my job as the multimedia manager at Bread for the World I’m constantly thinking of how to maintain the dignity of the people who have entrusted us with their stories while also meeting the organization’s communications goals. I hope this blog will be a place to share ideas. I also hope it will be a place to help people interested in NGO work understand the challenges we face using words, video, photos and audio to tell stories.
All opinions expressed on this blog are mine alone and not those of my employer.
Laura Elizabeth Pohl
Founder, NGO Storytelling