Ethos, Pathos & Logos and Storywork

I am pondering about the way we share stories, and their influence, and came across this gem of a diagram to ponder today:

Influence Diagram


Stories are a powerful way to share knowledge and make an impact. In story work, we facilitate, collect, and share stories to open up dialogue, bring awareness, and in some cases to effect change. Thanks to the Internet and digital technology, we have many ways to share story and I think we need to be thoughtful about how and why we are sharing those stories that we are facilitating and collecting.

In our story release form, we specifically list out the ways we would like to share the storyteller’s story and they can check off what they are comfortable with. Some of the stores we have will never be on a website or shared on social media, but we have permission to share it as a part of an educational presentation in order to help others tell their story or to help open up discussion at a community-level. I also include words to say that the stories belong to the storytellers, and I will not use them for commercial purposes, i.e. to sell a product or sell their stories.

As story workers, we need to be respectful about the stories we facilitate, collect and share. We are Stewards of the Stories, not the owners. The stories will always belong to the storyteller. I know this part can be difficult depending on who is funding the story project as they will think they own the stories and can change, share, and alter as they see fit. It is up to us to share why from an ethical point of view that we do not own the story, and that digital stories may fall under fair use, but it also could fall under copyright, or intellectual property. This part is complex and I suggest talking to someone who has legal knowledge as it is beyond the scope of mine. (Here is an article that tries to address some of the terminology and thoughts when it comes to copyright and digital storytelling:

ethos pathos logos diagram

Here’s a graphic reminder of what Ethos, Pathos, and Logos is. I’m presenting it here so you don’t have to Google it; if you are like me and have too much stuff in their brains to remember the meaning of these unless you use it on a regular basis 🙂

At the end of the day, we story workers need to remember by honoring the story, we also honor the storyteller.