Trick or Treat: Tips for Avoiding the Story Graveyard
Walking by a neighborhood lawn with dangling glow-in-the-dark skeletons and giant spiders is not surprising in this spooky season. A creative art teacher DIY’d his front lawn into a graveyard with 2017’s dying trends like #Dabbing #OmbreHair #HomemadeSlime #NormalSeasons and more. Students can prevent their story ideas from dying by improving one simple habit in three different ways as recommended by BYU School of Communications professors. #CommsTrickorTreat
Trick [noun] /trɪk/ an effective way of doing something: Watch the news to stay on top of trends
“PR firms and PR people in many ways really need to understand what’s going on in the world around them because we are changing it and we’re supposed to make a difference in the world, and if our heads are in the sand, it’s tough for us to do that sometimes,” said associate professor Robert Wakefield.
A class of senior PR students taking 425 Digital Storytelling were assigned to read relevant digital stories outside class at least 20 minutes a day, 4 times a week. By doing this, students are exposed to new concepts and industry insights that helps them to create relevant content.
“Reading helps us to become more well-rounded, particularly for communication professionals, we need to read news media stories, beyond what typically show up in the social media feeds, to understand the world we live in and create content that’s engaging,” said assistant professor Pamela Brubaker.
Or [conj] /ər/ to indicate an alternative: Grow or remain stagnant
“There’s no substitute for writing like reading; reading how words come together, seeing how they fit on a page, seeing how they tell the story in different ways… great storytellers are great writers,” said associate teaching professor Joseph Ogden.
Reading consistently not only keeps students up-to-date with current events, but also transforms them into great writers. This is especially important for communication professionals to acquire excellent writing skills, which ranked among the top skills needed for PR professionals by Regan’s PR Daily.
“There’s no substitute for writing like reading; reading how words come together, seeing how they fit on a page, seeing how they tell the story in different ways… great storytellers are great writers,”
The more students read, the more story ideas they generate. “You don’t realize what you are picking up as you are reading, even the new vocabulary and ways to structure sentences to tell a story. I read a wide range of authors,” Ogden said.
Treat [verb]/ˈtrēt /to provide with enjoyment: Read what you love
“Enjoy what you read. I think we should develop a broad range of interests, and become experts and opinion leaders in some of those areas. It’s great because it adds a lot of spice to life,” Ogden said.
Besides reading from the prominent news outlets and PR newsletters, communication professors recommend students read a variety of books and articles to help them to become better storytellers. Students should find topics that they are interested in and spend time to explore more in-depth.
Reading news about business, the latest technology, and pop culture will expand students’ knowledge sphere, and inspire them to create meaningful and engaging content that stay out of the trend graveyard.
Written by Cloud He