Why we tell stories


Ross Sneddon

Like putting together a puzzle, writing stories is about creating a picture.

TJ Lindstrom, Editor-in-Chief

Before anything else, human beings are storytellers. Long before farming and bronze tools, before even writing and math, and millennia before the atom bomb, we invented stories — still our most powerful tool. 

We tell great shared stories: cultural narratives. The landing at Plymouth, Washington crossing the Delaware, the Wild West, Lewis and Clarke, Manifest Destiny — stories that run deep: the building blocks of cultural consciousness. 

We tell myths, grander still, across time: The Book of Genesis, the Fall of Rome, the discovery of the New World. Rooted once in truth, these stories now roam the realm of myth — that is, a story that took hold some place deep. This is our story, whether we tell it consciously or not.

We each have our own version of this story. It’s the story of me and my world, of creation. It’s the story of my life, from start to finish. Uninteresting people stop right about there. The rest of us (yes dear reader, I find you interesting) push on, picking up pieces — from history books, newspapers, science, religion, film, music, whatever — and begin the work of constructing a puzzle. Desperately grabbing for whatever piece of reality might fit, holding it up to our working puzzle, and deciding whether to add or drop it. 

This is how we build our stories, our world views, our identities. A million small pieces patched together like a kid with his floor puzzle. It’s fragile and personal and sacred and beautiful the whole way through, because, before anything else, we are storytellers. It’s just what we do. 

So here, in this stuffy newsroom buried in the student center, that is what we intend to do: tell our stories, as truthfully as we can. It’s a small slice of the world, and I hardly think myself Walter Cronkite. But here, as anywhere, there are stories to tell. Some of them are light and pleasant and uplifting. Others are hard and controversial and divisive. But a story’s a story, and I, for one, am excited to tell them. For here, in this little slice of the world, we get the first draft of that story. After all, the Carroll News is the paper of record for John Carroll…so long as we have no other competition. 

I’m proud of the team we’ve assembled. I’m proud of what the prior teams have left for us. And I’m excited to get to work telling stories as we always have.