Don’t give me news, give me stories

If you have seen news-type American dramas or British and American movies, you will find that European and American journalists are not just content with a piece of news, but the pursuit of a complete story. They never say that you robbed me of the news, but they would say that you robbed me of the story.

The Boston Globe reporters in “Focus” who wanted to dig into church sex scandals, they found evidence of priests sexually assaulting boys and were anxious to expose them. But the editor-in-chief told them that we want to find the full chain of stories. He wanted a complete story with logic, details and scenes.

Of course, the pursuit of stories does not only exist in “good reporters”, but the pursuit of stories may also be a complicated “bad reporter”.

In the House of Cards, the Washington Herald reporter who wanted to expose the vice presidential scandal. After mastering the evidence of Kevin Spacey’s scandal, she also wanted a complete story, and finally she wanted the story Made a peachy deal. Although she died tragically on the railroad tracks, what she wanted was always the “Story” in her mouth.

Story thinking is like pursuing objective truth. It has become an instinct and an essential quality for journalists. It’s not just the difference in words that is content to report a story and restore a story, but a completely different thinking logic behind it.

A mature journalist will not be satisfied with pursuing fragments of news information, but will use fragments from one to another, to smooth the logical chain one by one, restore one scene after another, and improve one another. A detail, continuously cross-validated, and finally restored a complete story. This is the story thinking I want editors to develop.

Writing is just one of the easiest steps. When the “story” in the reporter’s mouth is written in words and printed on the magazine in black and white, this is what we call Feafures. Of course, it also has a Chinese name in the Chinese context that we are not unfamiliar with: special features.

However, every time I see the word “special feature” on the title of the outdoor industry media, I enter it with great interest, and the result is often disappointed. To this day, the understanding of special features by outdoor media’s friendly forces is limited to its literal meaning-a special feature is a special report on a specific topic? Therefore, you will find those “Special Feature Year-end Outdoor Event Inventory”, “Special Feature Freehand Climbing Film Review” … only information and information collection, no stories, no details, and no emotions.

A special feature of China is also synonymous with the era, which is reportage in the 1980s and 1990s: a news event is presented in a literary manner similar to a novel. However, reportage has completely different attributes from special features.

Leaving aside the slogans of the times and the illusory values ​​in the text, the essence of reportage is literature, and authors can use literary techniques and reasonable fiction, while the essence of special features is serious news reporting, which must be true and literary. Just the way to improve the quality of text reading.

We are more inclined to report a story than time-sensitive news shards. Aristotle once said, “We cannot influence others through intelligence, but emotions can do it.” And the story is such a carrier of human emotions.

For example, when we talked about Qiangtang in the October issue, we wouldn’t just talk about reasoning, column data, and point of view, but instead talk about the experience of three people crossing the Qiangtang, making troubles halfway, and becoming passers-by from friends. From the beginning, I made it clear to the editors that this is not just an adventure story, it is also a story about human nature. In terms of results, it is easier to impress you than the report of the investigation of the flora and fauna of the Qiangtang, showing the sinister nature of the Qiangtang. This is the charm of the story.

If you ask me, what kind of story is a good story. I will scold you without hesitation: there are conflicting stories. Due to space limitations, at the end of the article I can only quote the epitaph of the greatest writer of the 20th century, Graham Green, a poem by the English poet Robert Browning—

What I love to see is: the danger of things. Honest thief, soft-hearted assassin, doubtful atheist.