SWB is writing a book on our experiences with helping others share their stories. When someone is sharing a story from their life, it is vital that their truth be accurately represented. When someone or some organization is aiding or guiding them, there is potential for both intentional and unintentional misrepresentation. SWB is opening the discussion of the ethics of storytelling. This type of ethical guideline is similar to that of journalism. Anyone can tell a story, but if a “truth” is being produced from a third party, there must be an ethical standard to protect the storyteller and the story itself.
Our guide to storytelling ethics is provided on our website for perusal and in downloadable format that can be printed and/or shared with anyone looking for help with storytelling production. We believe this a jumping off point and not a final decision of what storytelling ethics should be. Our book, Sharing Truth to Empower: Practical and Applied Ethics in Storytelling, is our introduction to the valuable process of storytelling. Storytelling can change a person’s understanding and therefore their reality. Thus, storytelling can change the world. If we hold ourselves accountable to listening and sharing with ethical values in mind, we can better trust that the experiences of others have value and must be included in our own personal realities.
SWB is committed to social justice and our method is helping marginalized people share their experiences. We hold ourselves to a high standard and we hope that others will as well. Everybody has a story, everybody has a truth, and everybody has value. I hope that you will listen and share.
Melanie Karnopp 8/21/18