Posted by: laurahaneyjackson | October 9, 2016

Engaging in Conversations Through Human Interest Pieces


When mum and dad are actually your aunt and uncle is an online magazine article that explores the experiences of three individuals who discovered their bonds to family were through what’s commonly known as informal adoption within the Asian community living in the UK. Human interest pieces like this engage the audience by helping to show an experience through the eyes of another. The best pieces take challenging subjects and create a framework and context for discussion.

I shared the story with a male colleague, a close friend who’s a mother, her seven-year-old son, and my own mom.  In three of the four cases, I was able to easily relay experiences of the subjects at a high level. General remarks among the adults indicated the topic was interesting. To make the story relatable and create a dialogue I asked this question: if it were your family, would you keep it a secret?  In the case of the seven-year-old, after conferring with his mother, we chose to bring up the topic by asking him if he understood what adoption was, and whether he knew anyone who actually was adopted.

In approaching such a piece, which in this case is culturally sensitive, I would look to social media or online forums as an outlet for the audience to react and share experiences. Interactive media can offer a way to shape and inform the actions of families and individuals.

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