Typewriter typing 'True Story'

I want to tell you a story

Anna Drew, Lead Media Officer for the Methodist Church, considers the importance of telling tales.

My best friend Katie and I were recently interviewed for a women’s magazine about our 16 year friendship. It was really hard trying to articulate something so central to my life, so significant and yet part of the furniture of my existence. And yet, when the journalist called me this morning to do the read-back I was surprised at how moving and powerful the piece was.

Similarly, when you live with and work on a campaign or issue for a long time, it’s not always easy to see where the story lies. You know what the most compelling points are, you’ve heard and rehearsed the case studies and you know all the angles. But sometimes you know it so well that you begin to take it for granted – everything is important and nothing particularly significant.

I’ve spent the past five months working on the #RethinkSanctions campaign, which launched last week. Having spent so many months immersed in the issue I found it hard to pick out the one thing I wanted to sell to journalists. Was it the fact that foodbanks are seeing people in desperate need because their benefit payments had been stopped? Or that those that most need the support of the welfare state are being punished by it? Or that so many children are affected because their parents have been sanctioned?

In our Christian lives, too, it can be hard to articulate our faith in a way that captures people’s imagination – God has done so much for us that it’s hard to nail down a core message that will cut through the competing noise of the world around us.

But if I’ve found one thing in my ten years of working in PR it’s this: the story is the thing. Tell the story. Tell your story, tell the stories of the people you meet, tell the stories of those affected by the issues. Without the stories the figures, the policies, the rallies and initiatives mean nothing.

Find out more about #RethinkSanctions and hear the stories.

Paul Arnold
paul@themedianet.org