Collecting Stories With Program vs Communications Staff
Before I started freelancing for NGOs last year, I firmly believed that given a choice, communications professionals should always be the ones collecting stories and aiding in the gathering of stories. Now, after having worked on the ground numerous times with program staff, I’ve changed my mind. Here are my opinions on working with program and communications staffers on stories.
Benefits of collecting stories with program staffers:
- They know the programs inside and out. This is a tremendous help when I have questions about what’s happening around me.
- They often have deep and strong working relationships with other program staffers who can help me get access to certain situations or people I may need to photograph or film.
- They usually have a good grasp of what storytelling involves, and due to their familiarity with the programs, they often make well-informed suggestions about scenes I can film or people I can talk with.
Benefits of collecting stories with communications staffers:
- They understand exactly what I need – nice light, good talkers, etc. – and how much time it takes to gather quotes or photograph and film people (a lot of time).
- They know their organization’s photo and video guidelines inside and out and can help me navigate sensitive situations.
- We can work together to collect story material and brainstorm ways to photograph, film or write a story that I probably wouldn’t have thought of on my own.
Any thoughts on this? Please add them in the comments below.