Tell Me a Story

Last Sunday evening I happened to watch a CBS 60 Minutes tribute to the creator of this groundbreaking news magazine, Don Hewitt who passed away late this past year. In clips from his 40 year career at CBS, Hewitt repeated one simple truth he held onto that redefined broadcast news for generations of viewers. “Tell me a story,” was the mantra Hewitt repeated over and over again when asked the key to the program’s success. Hewitt understood there was no complicated formula, just the understanding that people respond to a good story told well.

As I look at how we communicate news today, the heart of Hewitt’s message still rings true even as the information comes in a relentless flow and seeps into our minds through a multitude of channels. The noisy flood of news and information coming toward us through text messages, tweets, emails, blogs, YouTube videos as well as the traditional print and broadcast programs are only as powerful as the stories they tell.

It is easy to get caught up in the technology and forget that content – the story – still is king. Find a great story, tell it well, share it with others and watch it get circulated far beyond your small world. That is the magic of great storytelling and opportunity every organization has right within its own people. So, listen to voice of Don Hewitt and please, “Tell me a story!”

Gail Hyman is a marketing and communications professional who currently focuses her practice, Gail Hyman Consulting, on assisting Jewish nonprofit organizations increase their ranks of supporters and better leverage their communications in the Web 2.0 environment. Gail is a regular contributor to eJewish Philanthropy.