Why Stories For Good?
It was the day that marked the beginning of the end of my television news career. It was a “slow” news day…so slow that our crew got assigned a car accident. A fatal accident on a Boston freeway…not something that would typically warrant an entire crew in a news market of that size but, given that it snarled the morning commute and nothing worse had happened yet, we were given the story. By the time a photojournalist and I arrived on scene the wreckage was long cleared and traffic was running smoothly. We called the news desk. Still slow, so it was still our story.
By mid-afternoon, we were sent to the home of the accident victim to see if this non-story would become one there. We got an address and, with heavy hearts, and in the same robotic mode with which we learned to approach all such situations, arrived at the address with hopes that it was either the wrong one…or that no one would be home.
A young teenaged girl was sitting on the porch. She ran over to me before I had a chance to say a word. “What happened to my mom?,” she asked. “I know something happened to her. My dad called and told me to wait here. I just read about a fatal accident on-line. Was it my mom?” There were tears in her eyes and a desperation in her voice that left me speechless. Without my saying a word she put two and two together. The presence of a news crew alone had confirmed her worst fear.
In my 10 years in TV news I have, sadly, seen people in the worst kinds of pain. I’ve seen grieving fathers, angry mothers, speechless siblings, distraught classmates. I have had the door slammed in my face, been called names, and been chased off properties…all in the name of getting the story. But never had I seen it unfold quite like this. Never had I seen someone descend into pure shock and panic right before me…meanwhile knowing that I was somehow a part of making this already horrible situation worse. This was something I could no longer justify as “just doing my job.” I realized then that my news days were numbered.
When my contract ended that year I traded my big city news dream in for a backpack and a one-way ticket to Argentina. What started with a plan to learn Spanish for a month evolved into a nearly year long adventure through South America, Europe and India. Among other highlights, I hiked through Patagonia, visited my great great grandmother’s hometown in Chile, volunteered at an orphanage in Bolivia, climbed Machu Picchu, walked 546 miles across the north of Spain, discovered yoga in the land where it all began and trekked through the Himalayas. Most importantly, I rediscovered parts of me that had shut down to handle my work. I was ready to return to Boston and to a more inspiring version of myself.
Soon after my return I moved to San Francisco, became a yoga teacher, a life coach and finally had the opportunity to pursue work that has been in me all along: the work of becoming a video storyteller….for good. It all started before I ever left Boston with a series of stories I initiated at my last news station about people who have forever changed my outlook on life: a blind and autistic musical savant, a 6 year old girl paralyzed by a bullet who forgave her shooter, a disabled Iraq Veteran turned artist and gallery owner, a couple in their mid-40’s who, after grieving the loss of their teenaged daughter in a drunk driving accident, decided to start all over again…with triplets. These are the stories and the people who gave meaning to my work. They moved and inspired me…as they moved and inspired others and demonstrated, for me, the power of television and the media to influence the way people think, act and experience life.
The work of Storytellers For Good is to create inspiring stories just like these…as well as help good people and organizations produce compelling videos to promote their work. Recognizing that a culture can be defined by the types of stories it chooses to tell, we ultimately hope to help create a shift away from the fear and tragedy focused news that has so influenced our world. Whenever possible, we seek to give voice to positivity over pessimism. We aim to promote goodness and, in doing so, inspire greatness.
Stay tuned for our adventure and many inspiring stories to come!