At Fall Media Forum, stories were “the breath of life”


If the heavy snow and winter storm advisory kept you away from the Twin Cities Media Alliance’s Fall Media Forum, you can now watch highlights of the event online on the Twin Cities Daily Planet. The forum, Storytelling and Beyond: New Tools for Participation was held November 13 at the Hennepin County Library Central Branch downtown Minneapolis, followed by a Happy Hour and Story Slam at the Old Pub. To see any of the highlights, click on the hyperlinks below.

National Story Slam champ Nancy Donoval started the program by telling a powerful and painful personal story to illustrate how storytelling can be used as a tool for advocacy.

“Stories—our stories—are the breath of life,” Nothando Zulu, of the National Association of Black Storytellers, said during the opening session. [For those who missed the forum, MTN’s video of the presentations is now on-line.]


It’s those kinds of stories, the ones that can be difficult to tell, that are the most important to put out for an audience, Zulu said.

“Because when those hard stories come out, for those others that need to be able to hear that, and know that they’re not the only one — that gives life,” she said.

Photographer Wing Young Huie, internationally famous for his Lake Street and University Avenue Public Art Projects, presented photographs from his many projects that are open to cultural interpretations, inviting participants to reflect on how their own points of views are formed.



Spoken word artist and storyteller Tish Jones combined storytelling and performance to explore ways to use new media tools to engage individuals and communities in telling their own stories. founder and MIT Media Lab fellow Lisa Williams took participants on a guided tour of the new lands beyond narrative — works that “break the story box” by bringing in hundreds, or even thousands, of voices.

The afternoon workshops featured
* MNs Originals web producer Chuck Olsen and Allison Herrera on how to produce engaging short videos, using technology ranging from your cell phone to high-end digital cameras.
* Tish Jones discussing copyright, privacy and legal issues related to working with young adults,
* Twin Cities Daily Planet arts editor Jay Gabler on Blogging your Story, and
* Nancy Donoval on using storytelling to reach a larger audience when advocating for difficult social issues.

The forum was followed by a Happy Hour and Story Telling Slam at the Old Pub. The Story Slam was hosted by Allison Broeren. Rob Callahan bested a strong field of contenders to take first place and a $50 prize.

The Fall Forum was presented in collaboration with MELSA. This program is funded by money from Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Additional support from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Miss the forum? Don’t worry — you can watch Nancy Donoval tell her National Story Sam-winning story here, thanks to video coverage provided by Nate Mains of Minneapolis Television Network.

Mains also documented: