Not the Usual

This has been an atypical week in a number of ways. Between chasing down Reporter stories and trying to scrape something together for NHPR I’ve been flat out. Today I took a break for a dose of education.

I shoot video already, but I’m far from what I would call an expert, so I spent this (last?) beautiful September day in front of my computer attending a webinar on video storytelling.

I’ve got a week left at the Reporter, but I will be in fact devoting more time to telling the story of Coös County soon. This class was my launching off point.

Working for a paper, even a weekly, makes it difficult to dive into the true nature of a place. The true nature of Berlin isn’t in it’s weekly council meetings, and Coös County is far beyond the police logs. It has a depth that doesn’t lend itself to the broadsheets, or at least not the broadsheets as gathered by such a small staff.

I look at a year and a half worth of Reporters next to At the River’s Edge, the recent documentary about Berlin. Which tells more about the city? Which gets more to its roots?

I have toyed with a documentary about Berlin for a while, but I have no experience with such complex projects. I do think, however, that while At the River’s Edge told the history of Berlin, no one has yet told its present. That is where I see my future.

I need to improve my storytelling, without a doubt, before I will do such a task justice. But the real story of Berlin is too broad for 500 words.

And it is a story more broad than just Berlin. I found these today while looking wasting time between speakers in my class:

Look familiar?

The decline of the paper industry devastated from Bangor to Berlin and beyond, it isn’t just one town’s story. But that universality can’t be told by looking wide, it takes focus to get it across.

I’m taking a new job, but in a way it has given me renewed focus on just what it is I want to do in northern New Hampshire. That was always the problem working at the Reporter; connections with colleagues were tenuous. I was out there working alone. It’s easy in that environment to lose inspiration, to get bogged down in the day to day and miss the bigger picture. The real story is so much bigger, so much more complex, that it would take me an hour to relate.

But I have that hour. I have all the time in the world. I just need to go get the story, and bring it back to people who want to hear it.

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