Writer Makes You See What’s No Longer There

I’ve never wanted to go to Alabama. Until now.

I started reading “A march into history” by Scott Vogel of The Washington Post because of the subhead, believe it or not:

“Alabama women who lived it help give a 21st-century spirit to the civil rights struggle.”

The black-and-white photo showed only males, but because of the writing, I was intrigued by the idea of a story about strong women previously unrecognized by history. In several strokes of genius in what could be a primer on storytelling, Vogel aims to get an emotional reaction from his readers.

This is much more than an article about why you should visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute museum and research center.

Instead of, ‘The museum features the desk at which Martin Luther King wrote his plans for the bus boycott,’ Vogel wrote:

“She shows King’s office in the basement, then allows me a peek – not part of the public tour – at the blond wood desk on which he planned the Montgomery bus boycott.”

Suddenly you’re right there, seeing King making notes on how to conduct a boycott that would turn into a seminal event. Thanks to the writer, this is now personal for you.

How much more open will you be to the idea of supporting the place dedicated to preserving such memories?

Think about Vogel’s approach the next time you write a press release or fundraising piece. What can you make your readers see?

Read the original story

(Photo by Marion S. Trikosko, 1964, in the public domain)

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