Genuine Journalism: behind the scenes with a New York Times article
My wedding to a wonderful man on top of the mountain that almost took my life was covered by the New York Times. Writing that sentence just made my eyes tear up with happiness. When Jeanee, my mom and I returned to Whistler one year after my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that was when Jeanee said “When you get married it will be at the top of this mountain that almost took your life.” I looked out and saw me summiting that life peak with the man of my dreams. In my vision he was a tall, dark haired young man who believed in my dreams, loved to go on adventures, and was really smart. I didn’t know Reggie yet…..
The MoCrazy Strong story is about a TBI survivor, me. A woman who survives past her fatality report being written to become a fully functioning adult. It is about family caregivers, female empowerment, breaking stereotypes and understanding how to perform at your own personal best regardless of what society expects of you.
Performing at your own personal best is something that went into this article put out by Jenny Block with the New York Times. Emily Blaire Media set up the connection between Jenny, a writer for the New York Times, and me within a month after Reggie and my engagement in April of 2021.
As soon as Jenny’s NYT management said she could write the story on our wedding, I started to have ideas about the article I wanted her to write. I wanted the article to be factual and raise awareness for TBI as well as really show the depth of this story. I wanted this article to give people hope that they can climb an alternative peak after a TBI. I wanted to save and change lives.
During the month after the wedding was when the work began for the story. Reggie and I had facetime interviews with Jenny. As well as well as back and forth immediate fact checking which would then go to the New York Times editors. We had to show proof for a lot of the facts you wouldn’t even notice sprinkled throughout the story. A lot of other media I’ve done has stated facts that were not actually true. It’s incredibly impressive how much fact checking went into the NYT article. And how Jenny created a story that dove deep into aspects of the story. Jenny shared my mom made my wedding dress, I wore a 100 year old handmaid veil, the pups attended the ceremony, I was a natural coma and many more details.
Alana Paterson, the photographer, rode up the gondola with Reggie, Dave, Jeanee and I snapping pictures throughout the ceremony to capture the photos in the story. I love the pictures and think they do a great job telling the story! Little aspects like Jeanee holding my skirt and Lyona getting her very own headshot were very strategically planned to give nuance to the true messages of the story.
I am blown away by the amount of worldwide attention this article has already raised for MoCrazy Strong’s mission to raise awareness about TBI and recovery options. As well as give educated peer to peer support; starting with our family caregiver support from the initial days of the coma! I am incredibly happy that Jenny created a very fact checked article that creates two characters you love and tells the MoCrazy Strong TBI story in such a way it is raising awareness for the invisible struggles of TBI, and the ways you can take action and heal. Facts are sometimes more powerful than fiction! These facts created a story that is even better than I imagined about a night I envisioned six years ago that blew past all my expectations. Let me tell you, ALL my expectations from the man I was marrying to the weather were all very high expectations, and our wedding on the mountain that almost took my life exceeded all expectations! Thank you Amy for giving us a perfect sunset followed by snow! And thank you everyone involved with this article for sharing the story about a unicorn, her family, and the magic it takes to survive.
“The Unicorn knows that there are times when the universe- at least hers- comes terribly unglued, and the only way out is through.” – Jenny Block, Be That Unicorn