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January 28, 2015 | Category: Blog | Author:

Weekly round-up: on getting strangers’ stories, story maps, and not telling stories

HOW TO GET STORIES FROM STRANGERS: Above is a video of Brandon Stanton, the creator of the hugely popular photo-interview blog “Humans of New York,” talking about how he gets strangers to open up. Stanton approaches people on the streets and subways of NYC, photographs them and interviews them, and presents quotes and pictures on his blog and social media. He has done numerous series, currently one about education in NYC, he was also hired by the United Nations to photograph and talk with people in developing countries. How did he get so good at eliciting people’s stories? Practice! More tips above.

STORY MAP: The Opportunity Agenda, a friend-organization of Working Narratives, created a “story map” that illustrates their impact in the past year. Check it out — a nice model for other organizations.

A CONTRARY VIEW: A blog post from GiveDirectly — a group that enables folks to “send money directly to the extreme poor” — talks about why they have so far shared so few personal stories and photographs of recipients of funding. The organizations aims to “anchor everything we do in data and rigorous evidence”; selecting “success stories” to share wouldn’t accurately represent the people who receive donations.  The group is, however, gathering more and more stories, and is thinking about how to share them ethically, such as by giving contextual information and selecting story-subjects at random.