Each day the broadsheets and news programs feed their readers and followers news regarding politics, business, crime, sports, celebrities and many more. Most of the stories focus on presenting facts and figures about topics such as elections, global warming, war efforts, cancer research, sports athletes’ salaries, latest technology and others. Although most of these topics are useful to know and of great importance to most, sometimes you would like to hear how an issue really affects a community, a family or an individual. This is where a human interest story enters.
A human interest story is one where you have a human lead. It is a feature story that presents the side of an individual or a group of individuals in an emotional manner. It may talk about people’s achievements, concerns and problems or a human disaster and how the human wave is coping. This type of story is written in such a way that it elicits both interest and sympathy for the person or persons involved. A human interest story is often called by journalists as ‘the story behind the story’. They point to the person in the local interest story as ‘the face behind the story.’
Newspapers and magazines abound with human interest stories about everything from the life of soldiers or their families, volunteers in famine stricken Africa, persons with unbelievable achievements, survivors of cancers and other health issues, to natural disaster and financial ruin survivors and much more. On television, there are human magazine shows tackling similar topics but are more thought provoking and heart wrenching for viewers because you see the actual person or persons describing their experience.
Another source of human interest stories is the internet. If you are interested in finding this type of feature story online:
- Type ‘human interest stories’ on the search tab of your browser.
- Refine the search by entering what topic the story should be about. For example, you can look for stories about Afghan refugees, famine, bank foreclosures, a swimmer with one leg, a child prodigy and many more.
Below are some websites you may want to check out for human interest stories:
- CNN – go to World’s Untold Stories for video versions of human interest stories.
- UNICEF – type ‘real lives’ in the site’s search engine to bring you human interest stories around the globe.
- International Middle East Media Center has human interest stories focusing on the Middle East region.
- The Salvation Army has very short human interest stories for quick reading.
- Reader’s Digest - Look under ‘Inspiring People’ to read about individuals who went beyond what they thought they are capable of achieving.
For more human interest stories, check out the websites of the following: local and international newspapers, magazines like Time and Newsweek, television news programs and magazine shows. They usually have many stories dealing with triumphs and adversities of the human spirit.
Although some human interest stories may tend to be sensationally written, others really peel off the layers of a person or group of persons’ experience and describe how this experience affected them and the people around them. When you read a human interest story in this jaded world, try to read it with a fresh eye and look beyond the sensationalism. Allow human interest stories to inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone. Who knows, maybe you can write one yourself and inspire others.