Back when television was the new social media, it brought us all together like nothing ever had before. The shared community bond reached its apex on Sunday nights when two programs literally determined what North America would consider on Monday morning to be either entertaining or important. The Ed Sullivan show entertained us and 60 Minutes informed us.
Don Hewitt died last week. He created the show 60 Minutes and also developed many things we take for granted in mainstream news media. For the first time ever, Hewitt made news profitable and easy to watch. He lamented that those things may have contributed to a decline in the quality of news.
The hidden camera, the ambush interview and the name and title superimposed over a person’s talking head all came out of the mind of Hewitt. In his later years at CBS, he surrounded himself with younger staff with the ability to stand up to him. He tinkered with every story before it went on air and often argued vehemently with the program’s famous hosts.
He had basically only one piece of advice for anyone who asked about his journalistic success. The secret, he said, boiled down to four words that every child knows – tell me a story.
It’s the same advice I give my clients. Some of them want to tell the world elaborate details of their new technologies. Some of them want to expound on complicated arguments to sway people to their cause. Some of them even want to be on 60 Minutes so that the world will learn about their product.
In every case, the best way to achieve your goal is to tell me a story.