Everything I know about telling stories, I learned from public radio. Everything I know about listening to stories, I learned from being a child. To that end, some wisdom from experts in radio, and experts in children’s stories.


Children’s stories:

  • Woutrina Bone tells us in her 1923 book Children’s Stories and How to Tell Them that “two things are necessary in order to make pictures with words… 1. We must be able to visualize them for ourselves. 2. We must have such a mastery over words, that we can use them to enable others to see.” Legislative storytelling is the perfect time to write a narrative that won’t lose the reader in under five minutes.
  • Sara Cone Bryant, in How to Tell Stories to Children, says that “the most cultured of audiences will listen to the personal reminiscences of an explorer with a different tingle of interest from that which it feels for a scientific lecture on the results of the exploration. The longing for the personal in experience is a very human longing.” A legislative story with interviews, personal statements, advertisements that people would have watched in their living rooms will tell a much more compelling tale than a recitation of parliamentary steps. Both have their place, but both have their value as well.
  • From Laura S. Emerson’s Storytelling: The Art and Purpose, don’t forget about the classic structure of a story. Remember drawing the denouement?


Even a list of sources can have an arc. Build your story with headings, order, annotations. You’re information professionals, this is what you do best! Storifying it can help you make it better.