There’s nothing like contrast to accentuate the telling of a story.
In our “art of storytelling” training I like to discuss the difference between “what was” and “what is.” The greater the delta between these two points the greater the drama in the story.
One doesn’t intuitively associate life on a farm with leading a new video sharing site striving to grab turf from YouTube. That’s exactly why the lead into the story works:
“Since she was a kid hunting and working on a 27-acre farm near the tiny hamlet of Allen, Kan., Teresa Phillips has pushed herself.”
Later, the story revisits Phillips’ farm roots:
“It’s been a whirlwind journey for Phillips, whose family raised horses, cows, mules, chickens, rabbits, hogs and sheep in America’s heartland. Allen (population about 216) is about 40 miles southwest of the state capital, Topeka. When she wasn’t tending to the animals with her six siblings, Phillips doted on her mule, Jack; hunted for rabbits and squirrels with a .22-caliber rifle; and fished.”
It’s all good stuff.
Not only does contrast provide a unique dimension to the story but you gain a sense of who Teresa Phillips is as a person.
It’s also noteworthy that the reporter resists the urge to close with a corny pun around “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” a certain willpower obviously not shared by yours truly.