Open Mic Journalism and the Psychology of Audio Storytelling

Here’s an interesting snippet from NiemanLab about organised storytelling evenings held by American daily newspaper, The Arizona Republic.

Arizona Storytellers started as an experiment in community engagement. Four years later, the event has become popular, making more than enough money to cover costs and helping to build stronger ties with the community the paper serves.

Contributors are chosen and attend a workshop to help them to present their stories in front of an audience. Features Journalist and Storytellers founder Megan Finnerty explains what makes the project successful; >“The value proposition is that we train all kinds of people to tell stories,” she said. “We are better able to serve and reflect the community. That’s why a newsroom would do this, that’s why it makes sense for a community to take this on.”

Still in America and on the subject of storytelling, The Atlantic has published this piece about why we all love to listen to a story and what is going on in our brains when we hear something really engaging.

Research highlighted in the article has shown that emotional engagement with a character in a story, and tension caused by the events which unfold produces a chemical reaction in the brain, pulling us further into the story. >‘The researchers reason that experiencing tension in a story makes people feel stressed, which makes their bodies release the hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin. Since oxytocin has been shown to increase empathy in some experiments, when things get tense while listening to a story, reading a book, or watching a TV show or movie, you may begin to empathize with the characters and get “transported” into the story’.