What’s Your Story?

How would you respond if someone walked up to you today and asked, “What’s your story?”

A couple of years ago, as part of a leadership program, I and about 30 other people sat in a circle in a meeting room at Itasca State Park and responded to that very question.

What is my story? Aside from the basic stuff people already know about me?

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I’ve been so busy telling the stories of other people that I guess I haven’t given much thought to my own.”

Others around the room spoke of dreams to write a book, learn their native language or run for public office. I envisioned their success, and then I thought how interesting it would be to interview them and share the story of their success in the newspaper.

What would newspapers be if they didn’t, for one, tell the good news about others?

Sharing the stories of others is what first lured me to a career in journalism.

I remember as a kid reading stories about people and events in the Daily Globe — articles my mom found interesting and suggested I read, or photos of someone I knew that prompted me to read the story behind it. Even today, a stop at the farm often includes Mom handing me an article she clipped out of some farm magazine.

It comes as no surprise that the articles she clips out are either columns written by other journalists or feature stories on unique individuals. After working nearly 20 years in this profession, I have received far more comments about columns, blog posts and feature stories than anything else.

The reason why is simple: We like to read about other people. We like to know what’s going on in their lives — their struggles, their successes … their stories.

During the two years I interviewed our region’s World War II veterans for Honor Flight, I’d occasionally receive a phone call or a note from a family member saying, “I never knew that about my dad,” or “My husband told you things he’s never told me.”

Buried thoughts and off-hand comments are just a part of the response journalists like me get when we ask others, “What’s your story?”

Oh, we aren’t quite that direct, I can assure you. We use the basic tools of journalism … we ask the “who, what, when, where, why and how” to get to the heart of any story, whether it’s hard news (fires, crashes and county government) or a fluffy, feel-good feature story.

The stories that appear in this newspaper every day not only give you a sense of what is happening in your community, they are a reflection of your community — the good and the bad.

As we mark the 73rd anniversary of National Newspaper Week this week, I am reminded why I’ve spent so much time in front of a keyboard and computer monitor.

“Your Community, Your Newspaper, Your Life.” It’s more than a simple slogan for National Newspaper Week … it’s producing a product that brings people together, it’s generating discussion, it’s getting people to take action… It’s getting people to answer the question, “What’s your story?”

If you haven’t held a newspaper in front of your eyes for a while, help celebrate National Newspaper Week with us by picking up your free copy of the Daily Globe each day this week at BenLee’s Café, Burger King or the Worthington Municipal Liquor Store. I hope you like what you see and keep following your community’s news in our print edition, online at dglobe.com, through our Facebook page and our Twitter handle.

Feedback — and story suggestions — are always appreciated.