A story well told about an inspiring teacher, his students, and his family


By Rob Melton
This New York Times video story reveals the power of personal stories.

Jon Franklin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and professor, wrote about the process of finding the best character to tell the story in his groundbreaking book “Writing For Story.”  The Dramatic Outline
is a useful two-page excerpt from Franklin’s book to use with high school journalism students. Finding the best point of view from which to tell the story is a process of choosing different characters and outlining the action from their point of view.

dramatic outlining

While this story focuses on a physics teacher in Louisville, Kentucky, for it’s narrative, it’s also about the other people in his life and their stories. To see how this process works, try outlining this story from the point of view of each person featured in this story. How would the story be told from another person’s point of view?

This guide to narrative writing from Quill & Scroll, based on an interview with Pulitzer Prize winner Tom French and others, Q&S Narrativeis also an excellent introduction to the strategies needed for great narrative stories. It offers reporting and writing tips to budding journalists which add impact to narrative stories.