Girl walks across campus. Not the kind of information that higher education marketing types rush back to their desks to share with the world. But as This American Life creator Ira Glass reminds us, sometimes the distance between information and story can be covered in one simple question: And then what happened? On the campus of Middlebury College, someone clearly gets the art of storytelling and its connection to higher education branding. Too often, college editors and writers settle for the lowest rung of the content potential ladder. Content and story get treated as information. A potentially irresistible story about the physics professor who falls in love with speed skating tells us that it’s “all applied physics,” but stops short of allowing the reader to see, hear and feel how that translates on the ice. It’s a tall challenge, asking a faculty member a third or fourth follow-up question, insisting on more detail, when everyone’s time is short. The call for great, not simply good, story telling needs to come from the highest level of the college. It seems to have happened at Middlebury, which does a consistently great job of remembering to show, not tell. So, it’s true…a girl does walk across the Middlebury College campus. Experience the “then what happened” for yourself.
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