Three Questions for J ...


Don Ranley taught at the Missouri School of Journalism for 32 years.

He has conducted more than 1,000 writing, editing and publishing seminars.

And let’s not forget he reported for the “The Catholic Herald Citizen” (weekly, circ. 180,000) in Milwaukee from 1966-1967.

In short, here’s a guy who’s knows a thing or two about storytelling.

I connected with Don last week after he delivered the session, “Let’s Tell a Story!” at the IABC conference. He was kind enough to answer a few questions with an economy of words.

Q: Do you think storytelling in terms of what resonates with people has changed since you’ve been teaching?

A: No, Lou, I don’t think anything has really changed in writing the story itself.  Depending on the medium and the audience, you might argue for a shorter story.  But everyone loves a good story.

Q: Are there one or two storytelling techniques that you find to be underutilized?

A: Good similes and metaphors are still too rare.  Also, sometimes writers quote for the sake of quoting rather than wait for the great quote.  Lively, colorful quotations spice up copy.  That means you have to find people who can give them to you.

Q: Is there one particular journalist that stands out as a gifted storytelling?

A: For a working journalist, David Casstevens of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is as good as I’ve seen.


If you’re looking for extraordinary storytelling in the media, Evelyn Lee, one of our account directors in Asia, flagged The Atlantic list, “Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism.”

That’s a wrap.



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