They can be found in the most unlikely of places

They can be found in the most unlikely of places

“If we only give people half a chance they will take it.”

When Daniel Meadows uttered these words he was referring to the idea of letting people tell their own story. He said in the modern age we, as journalists, should be prepared to facilitate the stories of others as well as writing our own.

And I thought “great”, because quite honestly I’m a bit sick of facilitating my own stories and hearing my own voice and anyway, as I said last week, I think a major condition of having a voice is to use it responsibly.

Giving others the opportunity to tell their story seems as good a way as any. This is especially true if you are helping those who otherwise find it difficult to express them, people who aren’t so good with the written word or just not used to using it.

My Dad is a very interesting man. He has been working on the same farm for almost forty years and living within five miles of where he was born, all his life. To some this might sound like a pretty tame life story. But the way I see it, he has spent his days driving all over the county watching the seasons change and talking to people from all different walks of life. The Scots definition for my dad would be a “bletherer“, he wouldn’t mind me saying this because he knows its true.

I have many a memory from when I was younger of being out and about with my Dad. Always a bit of a Daddy’s girl, I loved it when he took me with him on his jaunts and now I realise that for him, it was a way of getting to spend more time with me because he worked such long hours. Much as I loved those times, more often than not they would end with me tugging on his arm and moaning “Da-a-ad”, in an attempt to try and get him moving again and stop talking to whoever this boring person was (rude I know, but seriously he could talk for hours and I would be getting hungry).

Now that I’m all grown up, and encouraged to look into and think about these things a little, I’ve realised my Dad is a potential goldmine of stories. Sorry if this all seems a little romanticised to you (“Aww, bless the Scottish lass who grew up on a farm, all rosy cheeked, with a dog and some hens”) but I suppose thinking about multimedia stories has brought me over all nostalgic.

Initially, when introduced to the Capture Wales project, I thought the two minute time frame would be pretty limiting. But it is the snap-shot quality which makes these stories so effective. We get to know the person as much through what is not said as we do through what is. In this way the stories are reflective of real life. After all, we learn a lot about others through their body language and what they tell us implicitly, not just from their direct speech.

This video in particular struck a chord with me:

“Life isn’t about things, it’s about people.”

The fact that the statement comes from a rather burly looking gent makes it all the more poignant. I wouldn’t expect Gavin Allen from Arabella Street (which, incidentally, is just round the corner from my home in Cardiff) to say such a thing. And this is why it is important to give that person a chance because more often than not they will tell you something which firmly dispels their stereotype.

My siblings and I have a habit of referring to what we call Dad’s “wise words of the week”, any turn of phrase or comment which we deem to be spoken like a true parent. Now that I am living away from home I often hear an imaginary echo of my Dad’s voice giving an up front and direct assessment of a situation.

So what would his take of the digital story-telling phenomenon be? “Well, the cat’s out of the bag now, isn’t it.”