Inside Stories

September 28, 2009 //

By John Esterle

It seems more and more of us in the public benefit sector are thinking and talking about the power of stories to connect and inform, to spark dialogue and action, to shift perspectives and policy. And with this talk comes familiar questions: How do we tell our story? How do we get it out there? What will break through and stick in our media saturated environment?

A new blog and podcast, Inside Stories, offers an intriguing and wide-ranging vehicle for exploring these and a host of storytelling related questions. In his introductory post and podcast, writer and researcher, Paul VanDeCarr, says:

When I say “storytelling” I’m talking about everything from fairy tales, to psychotherapy, to sermons, to gossip, to journalism, genealogy, courtroom cases, the theatre, film, literature and lots more. You’ll hear stories and conversations about how and why people tell stories. I’m especially interested in how people use storytelling to build community, advance peace and social justice, and engage in civic affairs. In both the blog and podcast, I’ll be aiming for insight, imagination, and fun.

The site’s been up since the end of August, and though I haven’t checked out every entry, I’d say Paul’s eclectic mix of posts and brief podcasts appear to be more than hitting that mark.

So far, I’m especially interested in the thread of how stories appeal to emotion rather than reason to shape opinion. Not a new thread to be sure, but certainly a topical one when you consider our current public discourse and media landscape.