“Q & A” Story Critique

For the Q & A story produced by StoryCorps, I would like to evaluate the project planning, flow, and audience traits. These aspects of the story nicely showcased a conversation between Sarah and her 12-year-old son, Joshua Littman. Joshua has Asperger’s syndrome and it is apparent that he struggles with being different. Sarah loves her son deeply and works to help him process his feelings and experiences given his syndrome.
I chose the project planning trait due to all the layers incorporated to paint Joshua’s perspective. In the beginning, I was drawn into the story by images and text that gave context. Then, the media’s transition to an interview between Joshua and Sarah kept me engaged. I feel like the creator really thought about the project and planned how to best portray Joshua.

The story’s choppy communication flow is important to demonstrate Joshua’s syndrome. The unpredictable pace of the conversation is softened by animation, but also lent to awkward conversational moments, long pauses, and quick clarification from Sarah as to not be misunderstood. You can tell she really wants Joshua to trust in who he is. Conversely, I would have liked more character development around Sarah. How did she come to be such a good mother? Did she take any trainings to help with her parenting skills?

The last trait I want to review is audience. The producers of this piece manipulated the video in such a way as to raise awareness about Asperger’s syndrome. I imagine the story’s strongest pull is for parents raising such children and have been challenged to grow to meet their child’s needs. A broader audience also gets a chance to see that Asperger’s is hard for Joshua: eluding to the fact that he still feels emotions in the absence of social graces. Perhaps this story will inspire more compassion for Asperger’s syndrome.

This story definitely got me rooting for Joshua, while informing me on the bigger picture of Asperger’s syndrome. I appreciate the planning, flow, and audience awareness used to create the Q & A story.

(Photo Credit: Tim Raunch)

2 Comments

  • This is a powerful piece! It isn’t just another informational video on Asperberger’s. By wrapping the images around Joshua’s voice, the authors tapped into all the intense emotions that are involved and humanized the syndrome. He is obviously a very intelligent and emotionally sensitive boy. I was especially taken by the setup of the roach metaphor. The melancholic look of empathy on Joshua’s face as he watched the downcast “bug we love to hate” mope away was profound. A wonderful story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *