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December 31, 2006

Digital storytelling

Dana Atchley was a pioneer in digital storytelling, and an evangelist for the use of rich storytelling techniques for business and professional presentations. He died in 2000.

Stories are how we connect on the most fundamental, human level. Stories are the best way to embody, share and remember knowledge. Before the advent of the written word stories were the only way of communicating history.

He was one of the early critics of bullet-point presentations, which he referred to as "corporate Sominex". You can get a sense of his talents and style from the website of the Digital Storytelling Festival he ran.

I have long understood that storytelling is one of the most effective ways of communicating complex information. I learned a fair bit from a little-known book by one of my former Ford School of Public Policy colleagues, Martha Feldman. In Reconstructing Reality in the Courtroom (with Lance Bennett; Rutgers Univ. Press 1981), she argues, based on field case studies, that juries navigate the maze of evidence, rhetoric, body language, and legal tactics by organizing them into a story, and that the side that presents the most coherent, internally consistent and compelling story wins.

Posted by jmm at December 31, 2006 01:50 PM