Dignified storytelling pursues a deep understanding of historical and cultural issues to guide the storytelling process and as a first step towards mitigating risks of oversimplification, sensationalism, and stereotyping. A commitment to communicating the background and context of all stories can help audiences better appreciate the social, economic, cultural, and political factors that shape the story. This wider understanding is important to move audiences beyond only judgement or pity about any individual’s situation, which is never the whole story.
When content gathering, an understanding of the social and moral underpinnings of a community, family, or individual is essential to help guide interactions with all those involved, leading to mutually beneficial decisions and ways of working. Cultural sensitivity can help to identify and address what actions may be needed to help contributors realise their rights to be actively involved in the story and to access, understand, and speak out on information. The local context is, in part, what drives any training and consultation that takes place before, during, or after the content gathering and during story development.