Grateful for Everyday – Final Assignment

According to the Australian Stroke Foundation, stroke is the second biggest killer in Australia after coronary heart disease. Thankfully, Mark didn’t contribute to this statistic. The effects of a stroke are known fairly well amongst society, on the patient’s behalf that is. The thoughts, feelings and emotions of a stroke victim’s family in their struggle to deal with the events that take place are difficult to comprehend, however as Anne-Maree tells us, ‘Often the experiences that hurt the most are the most beneficial in the long run.‘ That truly is the case with this family.

Following his close-encounter with death row, Mark and his family are taking each day as they come. It is true what they say, absence makes the heart grows fonder. For the average individual, 4 hours is not a long time, particularly given the vast amount of distractions now available. However for this family on one Sunday evening in August, 4 hours truly did feel like a lifetime. Patrick, the son of Anne-Maree and Mark, was spending quality time at home that very morning with his dad, and so he says that waiting for a phone call from surgeons at Liverpool Hospital about his extremely ill father was one of the worst few hours he can ever recall living through.

This story does not stop when Mark’s surgery was a success though. What happens when stroke patients are cleared by their many supervising doctors and allowed to venture home to continue with their lives? This is truly where the side-effects of a cerebellum stroke come to light. Excessive fatigue, decreased focus and concentration, loss of balance and stability, plenty of frustration. Mark has returned to normal bodily function, however is still prone to and showing all of these side-effects some 3 months after his stroke Anne-Maree tells us. His family, despite all they have gone through, still boast love and appreciation for everything that life has thrown at them, because, as Patrick said, ‘It could be worse, he could be dead.’

This is a family who seem like your average family upon first glance, and in all honesty, they are. Take a look at a family’s story of their encounter with death, and how it improved their outlook on what were given in this life.

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JRNL102 Final Assignment Pitch

I’ll be brutally honest with you – sometimes life sucks. It throws us things that, quite frankly, we would be better off without.

My audio-visual piece is one that is close to my heart, and I deliberated for quite some time as to whether this piece was appropriate (hence how late this post is), however it is something that must be come to terms with and spoken about. So here we go.

Sometime about two months ago, my father had a very severe and very sudden stroke. That morning he was perfectly healthy, and that evening he was having life saving surgery whilst my family and I sat in the waiting room wondering if we’d ever even get to say goodbye. SomethingI wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy.

Thankfully, however, my dad is a trooper, and despite what all expert medical opinion has told us he should be doing (or rather, not doing) he is doing very well.

This is where my story begins to take place. Physically, my dad now looks just as he did before. His symptoms, therefore, are much more mental and cognitive. He has all normal brain functions (has all his memory and is still able to function as normal), however has a lot of difficulty with concentration, focus and gets extremely fatigued very quickly.

I have come to notice that if everything look okay on the outside, people stop caring. But we, being his family, we can’t stop caring (nor do we want to). I therefore hope to shed a family’s perspective on the implications of strokes, particularly those as severe as my dad’s. For such task, I will be interviewing and getting insight from my mother and little brother, and may also narrate myself.

In terms of the construction of the piece, there will be a brief overview as to what happened, and then majority of the piece will be focused on the implications of the stroke and the toll it has taken not only on my dad but also on the rest of the family. The sounds will start off at the hospital, but will mostly be regular sounds of household activities and chatter that occurs throughout the day. The photography and video aspects will follow suit.

Before this all happened, I only knew as much about strokes as what I had learned in school and on the television, but there are so many more ramifications involved that I feel need to be known. Heres hoping that it all plays out as expected!

Interactive Storytelling – Best and Worst

Mid-session break gave us a chance to look at various examples of interactive storytelling that have been critically acclaimed. Some were fantastic examples of journalistic pieces that combine emotional connection and learning opportunities, whilst others were far too busy and did not enable any reflection throughout the piece.

Best of the Best

Firestorm Masterclasses

Firestorm – The Guardian

Firestorm, an interactive piece by The Guardian, tells the story of Tim and Tammy Holmes and their children in their ordeal against a raging fire that destroyed the Tasmanian town of Dunalley. The piece enables the audience to scroll through in time sequence order, beginning with the morning before the fire and ending with the aftermath and rebuilding process. Each chapter, with six in total, combines video, audio, imagery and words to fully encapsulate the story being told. The incorporation of the ambient sound alongside the moving pictures sets the scene for each segment. The piece, however, does not only contain the story of the Homes family; Firestorm also provides opportunity for learning about the natural phenomenon that is fire. With reference to academics that enhance the credibility of the piece, the Guardian have provided a highly interactive and engaging piece that truly encapsulates the Australian spirit, and therefore has been successful in creating an audience for itself.

Worst of the Worst

Highrise

Highrise – Canada’s National Film Board

Maybe WORST is a little too harsh. However, an opinion is an opinion. Highrise, by the Canadian National Film Board, is the continual story of the Skyscraper (or highrise building) over numerous years within society. The series is very busy, with many many sections that then lead to more sections which then have more videos and links to other sections. It is ALOT to take in for the average reader, and unless you have a very long attention span, odds are you will probably zone out after 5 minutes. There is no doubt that the piece is a fantastic example of interactive and multi-media journalism, however if they were to tone it down even just a little, it would be that much more effective and resonate with a much wider audience.

The Studio – Assignment 1

The dance studio is a place of solace, whereby one can enter and feel at home expressing their true emotions without the spoken word. Chiara, 17, knows the studio as a second home, dancing there from her youngest years and continuing to grow alongside it. The studio, located in Hoxton Park, fosters not only the dance careers of young hopefuls, but also friendships that are treasured for years beyond their time spent there. It is through her time spent at dancing that Chiara says she truly feels a sense of peace and an ability to feel comfortable in her own skin.

Walking Out – A Reflection

This week we looked into the work of other UOW journalism stories that produced pieces on emotion. Walking Out, the audio piece created by Elliot Cameron, resonated with me as a result of his effective use of ambience, and lack there of, throughout the story. The ambient sounds effectively contributed to the mood set by the piece, and was coupled well with the interview grabs chosen for the piece. However, it was when Elliot chose to insert moments of silence that the piece was most effective. The narrative arc was chosen appropriately, allowing the listener to start the story alongside the interviewee and finish in the same position. 

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me

For the assignment, I chose my friend Chiara in speaking about the dance studio. Chiara has been dancing since the age of 3, and so has grown up around the sights and sounds that come part in parcel with it. I hope that I am able to portray the love that resonates within her for the studio, and the way she feels in allowing others to experience her art form. The ambient sounds that I have collected for past tasks will be used for layering, alongside other familiar sounds that depict happiness and varying dance genres.