when a journalist leaves, the story doesn't end.

local story combines journalism and education to tell sustainable stories. we train people to advocate for themselves. 

how do you turn a “beneficiary” into an advocate? a victim into a leader? local story takes the microphone from the reporter and gives it directly to the people, working side by side with those affected by human trafficking, environmental degradation, poverty, and the deprivation of basic human rights such as healthcare and education. we help tell people’s stories while empowering them to ultimately not need us.

what we believe

Storytelling is shorthand for empathy.

There's often a disconnect in advocacy, a habit of telling not showing, that is a natural outgrowth of how policy making works – statistics, theories, finding imperfect solutions to large scale problems. Yet even impressive policy work can sometimes feel small, incremental, and from afar, irrelevant. There’s a communication gap in making the story of important public work personal, close and intimate.

Local Story was created to specifically fill this gap.

we believe that everybody has a fundamental right to tell their own story rather than having it told for them. local story partners with people so they may express themselves to their community and the world. we believe: 

  • stories come from the community.
  • long-term relationships must be made to understand what the story really is.
  • stories are therapeutic, empowering, and can preserve and strengthen culture. 
  • there are no age, gender, or intellectual parameters when it comes to telling stories. 
  • stories are living things—they grow and evolve over time. they are not static. 

the Karen Hilltribes Trust: a case study

Local Story and the Karen Hilltribes Trust (KHT) partnered together to create authentic stories from the community and improve the capacity of staff to tell stories in the future. 

In the fall of 2016 KHT approached Local Story to help improve the quality of its' stories, and to build capacity within the organization so that more routine storytelling could happen on a day-to-day basis. Over the course of three trips to Northeast Thailand, Local Story created several videos that KHT could use to grow its' audience, hundreds of still images, and several writing pieces. Most importantly, however, Local Story worked side-by-side with a KHT staff member on storytelling

“The Karen Hilltribes Trust partnered with Lee Cohen and Local Story in 2016 to enable us to better channel authentic stories from mountain villages in Mae Hong Son to our donors, supporters and the public. Lee approached this project systematically, and with minimal resources was able to place himself within our local staff team and on project to make this happen. As a result of working with Local Story, we have a staff member who can now write her own case studies, a new introductory video and some top quality video to work with. I would encourage other organisations to move from the language of beneficiaries to authors of their own narrative, and to contact Local Story to do this.”
— William Harnden, KHT Director

who am i? 

lee cohen has been working on educational issues around the world for the past ten years. he has a background in policy, monitoring & evaluation, creative and non-fiction writing, and documentary photography. his personal photography website is www.leecohenphotography.com

he is currently based in bangkok. 

who are you?

you're a community leader, a UN organization, a local NGO. you're someone whose story needs to be told. you want to raise awareness on an important issue facing your community, and you want to be able to do it for yourself. 

we'll show you how.