Prepping Rich Human Stories
May 10, 2011
You really need to read last week's column for this week's to make sense, so before we go further, click HERE
It might also be useful to actually see Abby, so you can watch a four-minute piece produced by Good Morning America on this story here.
Or, if that's not possible for you, here is the link to the page where they can see that video: http://mommysdirtylittlesecret.com/2011/03/24/abby-dorn-left-paralyzed-after-giving-birth-to-triplet-exhusband-see-kids
There are so many angles to this story.
- The tragedy of Abby's loss at the very moment she had dreamed about since she was a little girl.
- The tragedy of three young children who will never know the mother she would have been without this accident.
- The sense of judgment I feel about Dan's decision to divorce the woman he had loved and married and promised to stay beside.
- The realities of trying to care for three infants while providing 24-hour care for a severely disabled adult in the same home.
- The outrage I feel that Dan doesn't want his children to ever have contact with their mother.
- The truth, if it conflicts with my sense of outrage, of what regular exposure to their mother might mean for the triplets, both positive and negative. (Child developmental experts needed?)
- Should Abby's parents, as her caretakers now, have court-ordered visitation rights with their grandchildren? Should grandparents have the right to spend real time with their grandchildren ... and should courts decide these issues?
The truth is, as we talked the topic through during that morning show planning session, we began to understand a bit of its complexity.
The story is rich and human and polarizing, without an easy "Right" or "Wrong" answer.
So, we went from the morning show talent believing this was just a story one of the team would bring up and let the other member comment on, while then airing listener opinions, to a realization that by taking a few extra steps we could turn this into Viral Radio -- a topic not only guaranteed to produce huge listener engagement and involvement, but their active and voluntary propagation to family and co-workers because of its deep emotional impact.
The key now was to identify some of the emotions we hoped listeners would feel as we told this story. Knowing this would lead us to one specific narrative path and shape the ways we would move forward in preparation.
I've hinted at some of the extra steps I advised, but we'll go over all of them, including some from your comments that I probably hadn't thought of until I got you involved. Next week ... in The Talent Pool.