Friday, April 13, 2012

What I learned: John Clayton on trust


 The York Daily Record/Sunday News won 22 Keystone Awards in judging announced Thursday; many of those were writing/reporting awards, and by many different staffers.


I asked those staffers if they'd tell me, in 50-75 words, something they learned about storytelling (or generally about writing or photography/visual work) as they worked on the piece that was honored; or how they are trying to be better storytellers now than they were a year ago.


I'll share them on the blog as they come in with the hope that they create a kind of online roundtable about what we can learn from doing great work.


 Here's sports reporter John Clayton. He won first place in the sports story category for Stand strong, a profile of William Penn football player Anderson Novalin, who grew up in Haiti.


To me, this story reinforced the importance of trust. Anderson had seen some awful things in Haiti -- dead bodies, people being killed, etc. -- and he had to trust me before he was going to share them. I had to put in time ... Anderson was pretty shy during our first sit down. But over time he opened up, and I was able to get the important events/scenes that made the story work.


 An excellent point about earning the trust of the person you're working with to help make a story deep and true. Anyone else have a similar experience to share?