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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

A small win for dementia and, especially, for the carers of Chinese dementia patients (pic). The story, in today's Torch (a local tabloid in my area) is the first of its kind in Australia. A similar-themed op-ed piece sent to Adele Horin at The Sydney Morning Herald drew a phone call. I'm now trying to get the gatekeepers to allow another release, this time to the metropolitan broadsheet.

Requests to my team mates (both young Chinese women) to identify likely journalists working at any one of several national Chinese dailies have produced no suggestions. But doing all the work in these assignments is becoming normal. I can't pull out a whip to goad these young Asiatics into action (sigh).

The deliverables that resulted in this short, 300-word piece totalled about 8000 words. There was a media release, a profile, a feature, an op-ed piece, a backgrounder, and a fact sheet. About 60 photos were taken so that one could be published.

It was all worth it. Getting an issue like this into the press, and being the first in Australia to do so, gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I worked with the client (the local city council) for two months. I attended dozens of events and meetings, and participated in three interviews.

Negotiating with staff at the Australian Nursing Home Foundation was the hardest part, though. The stigma attached to the disease when it affects a Chinese person is so strong that many things in the original product were watered down. Names were changed, photos changed, the suburb where Mary lives was diluted (to 'inner-west').

The thing these people do not understand is that, by bringing the issue to the fore, we are taking a step toward eliminating stigma. It's like Tennyson's The Kraken which, risen from the dark-green depths, dies on reaching the surface of the ocean.

1 comment:

ninglun said...

A very important cross-cultural issue, Dean.

By the way, a little Googling suggests our paths may have crossed via Cornstalk Bookshop in Glebe and Neos long ago...

Is this so?