Chopped Story VS the Whole Story

It began with an early morning phone call from my sister: “I saw your interview, they only used the negative experience that you shared. Nothing else.” Of course they did… I thought. Saddened but not surprised; It appears that there was an agenda, an angle, a one-sided story to tell and that was the only story to be told. Any information that would thwart the end goal would be omitted-edited out; as was the case here.

My sister happened to be present for the interview when it took place and thus knows everything that was said versus what was presented to the community-a chopped story versus the whole story. Granted, I understand that each news story is about a five minute segment-if that, in which my slot was about a minute of the five. The one point I wanted to convey on the topic was that: although I have seen and experienced the negative side of the issue discussed, I have also had a very positive experience with the same issue. My conclusion however, was not what was desired and thus was not aired. In the end, the snip-it used gave the audience a skewed and incomplete picture of my experience. Mine.

I have always been one to look at both sides of an issue and I am careful to avoid saying that any person, group of people, institution etc. is 100% one way or another because it is simply not true. There is good and bad in just about everything. There are good and bad aspects of our human experiences. That is just a fact of life. There was good and bad even in the experience of this particular interview. On the one hand, it allowed me to represent an organization which upholds values that are important to me at this stage of my life and it allowed me to address an issue that does need more attention. On the downside the medium in which I shared my experiences was left up to the discretion of the story teller to decide what made the final cut and what did not. I had no control over what would be used and how. I also made the error of saying that they could use whatever they believed was useful- insert foot to mouth. Now that I have a better understanding of how the media works, I am not inclined to participate in interviews of that nature going forward.  Platforms such as this-blogging, allows me to communicate as completely and thoroughly as I know how. To tell my whole story or opinion and not just a part of it; knowing that the message I want to convey will be conveyed exactly as I intended because I am delivering it directly to my audience-no middle man. No media machine. Just you and me. Frankly, I prefer to have my thoughts and experiences told that way.

In conclusion, it’s time for me to pick up the pen again-or the laptop really and speak my truth rather than risking it and leaving it open to being chopped. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche has shared in her wonderful TED talk there indeed is “Danger of a Single Story”.


After thoughts:

  1. I did notice that on their website they did preface that the clip shown speaks of my first experience leaving one to assume that the second experience was perhaps different but that point was not stated in what was aired. That one simple statement would have changed the dynamics of what was presented.
  2. I am not strong with interviews. I am a writer not a speaker-especially an on-the-spot speaker. I have to process the personal questions (ideally in solitude) and let it marinate (which could take hours or days depending) and my response to the question can take equally as long because I want it to be as thorough as possible. Perhaps there is some growing that needs to be done there on my part.

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