Great Characters Make The Story

By: Kelsey Perkins

I attended this session and it taught me how to really connect with the people of the stories I cover. However, I would like to point out that Christine Eschenfelder was an awesome speaker. She was a very experienced journalist but made sure she wasn’t the center of attention. Eschenfelder gave consistent eye contact with each and everyone of us and actively engaged with the crowd by slowly strolling down the aisle while asking for our thoughts or opinions as we went through a new topic of her slideshow. Not only was the multi skilled journalist easily relatable, she presented extremely helpful tips of what it takes to become a stronger journalist.

In her presentation she embedded in our heads that “great characters make the story” and that a journalist should always tell their story through people because people connect with other people. Statistics are helpful to add validity to a story but with our hard wired brain we often forget numbers but hardly never people. This technique provokes emotions that makes us humans. This essentially brings in an audience and allows them to be more invested in a captivating story. Unfortunately, every story is not always happy or uplifting and having the job as journalist can be an emotional rollercoaster because you see the best and the worst of. However, becoming a voice for the voiceless is the determination that helps a powerful journalist continue to shine light on what is hidden in the dark.

What I have truly learned from Eschenfelder is that if a journalist turns the camera away from them, they will find the story in the people who are affected. Find. Observe. Listen. Letting the silence grow and allowing your vibrant characters talk is the birth of an incredible story