Dignified storytelling offers honest and accurate portrayals of individuals and communities in a manner that produces a deeper understanding of the context, paying due attention to both the challenges and opportunities of any situation. Storytelling should not shy away from taking on the difficulties in the story to tell simple success stories – the contributors are real people, and audiences deserve their real stories.
Dignified storytelling does not allow for digital manipulation or edits to be made to a visual or written story that would change the meaning or the connotations of the original content. While general edits (cropping or basic colour corrections) are acceptable, looking to unduly influence the narrative – for example, by enhancing perceptions of poverty or neglect – is not and endangers the credibility of the story.
Working closely with contributors and local creatives to discover and shape their narratives is the path towards the most authentic stories as they are best positioned to provide insights and nuanced perspectives on their lived realities. They know their own needs – and those of the community – and they also have the best vantage point from which to offer workable solutions for their context.