The story (and related online video) about veteran broadcast producer Thea Flaum's multimedia-rich website, FacingDisability.com, actually came about as a result of a recent story I wrote about one of Flaum's colleagues, Tom Weinberg.
I had interviewed Flaum for the story about Weinberg (the two worked together for years at WTTW), and during the course of that interview she had mentioned her years-in-the-making website that she had just launched for spinal cord injury survivors.
Of course, I knew about Thea's nearly 40-year career in local and national broadcasting circles -- especially her work at PBS, where she created "Sneak Previews" with Siskel & Ebert. And I was acquiainted with her, because we both serve on the board of the Chicago/Midwest National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
But I was really impressed with her website. I've been producing multimedia online for the Tribune for the past 10 years or so, and I'm familiar with what other multimedia producers do online. But Flaum's website is special because it is so uniquely tailored for its audience -- there are over 1,000 individual video clips on her site, where survivors, their families and physicians answer just about every question that needs to be known about recovering from a spinal cord injury.
The site's been a great success within medical circles (the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is already working with Flaum on a similar website for victims of brain trauma), but I hadn't seen anything written or produced about FacingDisability.com.
So, at a time when so much online video these days is about pandering for viewer clicks, this seemed like an ideal time to do something in depth about FacingDisability.com's important, creative use of multimedia online. It is multimedia which really makes a difference.
-- John Owens
Join Trib Nation on Facebook for more of the how and why of Tribune journalism.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times