Storytelling guide: Narrative and numbers
Mother Theresa said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.” However, if you tell stories about only individuals, you run the risk of removing the “social” part of a “social problem”—and structural injustices then seem like the fault of the people who face them. Numbers can bridge the gap here, making individual stories into a collective concern—so long as you don’t overuse them, or turn a story into a scorecard.
How do we combine stories and statistics? That’s the topic of a chapter in the new Working Narratives guide on “Storytelling and Social Change” — available as a downloadable PDF (sign-up required) or in an online magazine format.