Today is an exciting day. It marks the first broadcast of my new radio column on High Noon – “Breakthrough – Media moments that shaped the world.”
But what’s the story behind it? How did it come about?
Ever since I can remember, I’ve been obsessed about how the smallest of things can make a huge difference. A moment can change everything that happens after it. A moment can bring reality to a different place. And a moment can forever define how that change happened.
Now, more than any time in our history, the world is made up of media. Each day we are like fish swimming in water, so surrounded by media that we cannot tell what is really making a difference.
It seems not a week passes without a major event occurring that shapes our lives. But what moments really make the difference? What moments change everything that happen next? The firsts, the unexpected twists, the things we thought they’d never say and do, the birth of new technologies, and the death of things we thought would last for ever.
This idea has been going around in my head for months, and I decided to try and make sense of it by writing it down. My initial thoughts became a list – a long list – of these moments. I soon realised that there was a definite trend – small moments define the massive changes in the media. From the invention of movable type to Barack Obama’s first speech at the DNC – a flicker of light can become the sun and change how we all think.
My first media passion, and the reason I trained to be a journalist, is radio. I’ve always been in love with the power and texture of the voice and the ability of radio to convey stories in an impactful and powerful way.
In the autumn of 2016 I started All Good Tales. It started out of a simple idea that nagged me. That idea – great stories get more. The best stories get more attention, more emotional reaction, more donations, more investment and more sales. I could see it every day on the media intelligence software I founded, MediaHQ.com. The people who shared the best stories, got the best results.
To meet this need we started All Good Tales. It’s a brand storytelling agency. Its mission to discover, craft and place great stories at the heart of brands and to help them find their magic slice of content. Their magic slice is that place where the world wants to hear what they want to say.
While all this was going on in 2016, I became a regular contributor to the Right Hook radio show on Newstalk. It all started during the election because we shared a blog post on why we thought fiscal space was a terrible sound bite. It’s an ill wind and all that! I really enjoyed contributing to the show. George and I seemed to click and the approach of the Programme Editor Mark Simpson and the team impressed me.
The show ended in the summer of 2016 and came back at lunchtime as High Noon. I was keen to continue as a contributor. All that time I still had the list of media moments on my computer, but never did anything about it. One day I got a call from a researcher on the show to discuss an item. At the end of the chat he randomly asked if I had to any other ideas. I had and I shared it.
George and Mark Simpson made contact early in January, and we broke bread. The idea was a perfect fit for all of us. It is something different, it is about the art of storytelling, and it gives me and the team at All Good Tales a weekly date to craft stories.
The idea to deliver it as a column, a performance piece, is all George Hook’s. His vision for the show, and his drive and energy are infectious. In our breakfast meetings we talked about the early BBC broadcasters Jimmy Young and the late Terry Wogan who inspired him. And we talked about Alastair Cook’s letter from America – as powerful today as they day they were delivered.
So join me once a week to look at the breakthroughs, the media moments that shape the world. From the rise of Instagram to the death of the fax. From the Arab Spring to that Padraig Flynn interview – I’ll be dissecting the moments that changed everything.
Finally, the stories and the column wouldn’t be possible without the story writing team at All Good Tales, who are working with me on it. Thanks to Thomas Kelly, Conor Hawkins, Niamh O’Brien, Alex Sheehan and Louisa McGrath.