Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

When I ran into a demonstration in Berlin …

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On my Summer 2017 trip to Berlin I was having beers with a friend when I saw a lot of police 👮 activity outside. You know how it is …. once a reporter, always a reporter. Time to investigate and we were done with our beers anyway. 

Ich bin ein Storyteller. 

Turns out a demonstration was happening Here’s the scene – from six stories up:

I couldn’t even tell you the last time – if ever – that I’ve been close to a demonstration. But here was one. So I stepped out and watched and do what any journalistcly leaning storyteller does: 

  • Start listening to the stories happening around me 
  • Start recording 
  • Start taking photos 
  • Keep moving for more stories 
  • Seek context
This sign says: Freedom is when you can tell people what they do NOT want to hear.

When I first worked as a reporter and started covering fires, sometimes you have to turn around and away from the fire to find more  stories worth telling. There you could find the families impacted, neighbors consoling, etc. 

I  spotted a number of storylines at the Berlin demonstration. 

The actual demonstration 

I watched the entire demonstration pass me and I’m not sure I could tell you what they were actually demonstrating against. At least not exactly. But I saw and heard things like this:

  • Patriotism shouldn’t be a crime 
  • Say no to Islam
  • Something about the “Lügenpresse.” This is a term that was used by the Nazis in an attempt to marginalize the press during the Third Reich
  • Fake news 👎 Facts 👍
  • There was a picture of U.S. President Donald Trump

A police officer did tell me that it’s a group of people on the right side of the political spectrum. He quickly added that there no right radicals involved – which felt like it was meant reassuring. 

The counter protesters 

I have no idea if these people showed up intentionally or just kind of ended up standing at the same intersection as me when the demonstration passed. 

Some of them yelled:

“Nazis raus!” (Nazis get out!)

Other “pleasantries” were exchanged verbally. 

Others on the sidewalks were flipping the demonstrators off. 

And then I witnessed this exchange:

“You are back, eh?” – demonstrator to a group of Turkish men on the sidewalk. 

“Why don’t you relax and have a Döner 🥙?” – one of the Turkish men on the sidewalk responded.

This actually reminded me that I didn’t get a Döner – a great tasting Turkish food – on this trip! Next time! Others hollered similar sentiments – “let’s go have a beer 🍻”

Democracy at its finest and I saw no physicial confrontation except the guy who tried to spit on me for taking photos. He missed which was good for the obvious reasons of that being gross and also that I was out of clean clothes for the trip.”

The police 

Of course the police is to thank – at least in part – that there were no fights. 

Watching the police is always fascinating to me in incidents like this. First of, there were a ton of officers – maybe even more than there were demonstrators. 

They moved with precision and calculation. One group of officers would move in between the demonstration and counter-protesters/bystanders. I felt kind of safe actually. 

The side events 

Then there are the stories that just kind of intersect with this one. The people walking by and wondering what’s going on. While I’ll admit that I was getting a bit into reporter mode, really I was just walking back to my hotel – which the demonstration went right by. So I didn’t go out of my way to avoid it but it was also on my planned route. (The aerial photo I took from my sixth-floor hotel room.)

As I walked up a hotel employee was trying to explain to an Asian couple what was being demonstrated. “Some people think…”

And others think something else!

There are so many stories around us everyday. Whether we agree with all – or any – of them, be glad that you can share yours and others can share theirs. 

Disclaimers: The information provided in articles is for informational purposes only and not personalized advice. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time it's published. Enjoy and best of luck telling the best stories in your organization and life! Some articles may include affiliate links.

Christoph Trappe

Hello and thanks for stopping by. I'm Christoph Trappe. I've written two books, speak at conferences around the globe and blog frequently on here. I love sharing my stories and helping organizations share theirs. If you need help, just visit the Contact Me page in the navigation and drop me a note. I'm always happy to chat! Thanks for reading! - Christoph 319-389-9853

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