Summer of stories: Getting to tell the stories of inspiring readers
Digging beyond an email to find the inspiring story which had prompted a local woman to write her own book was a rewarding task for Maia Snow, who works for LeicestershireLive. Here’s her Summer of Stories column:
What was this story about?
A human interest feature about Steph Derham, a lady who had been born with spina bifida but never let it stop her. She has recently written a story about her experiences.
How did you find out about this story?
She emailed newsdesk to tell us about her book.
Can you tell us about what work went on prior to publication?
I interviewed Steph over the phone and organised for a photographer to go and see her and her husband at their home. I also needed to research spina bifida and the the thalidomide scandal for background.
What was the reaction after publication?
It did not get as many page views as I would have liked, but the reaction from Steph was fantastic. She was invited to various other publications and media outlets to talk about her experience. She also told me people all over the world got in touch to thank her for sharing her experiences. She also said it increased her book sales! She was so grateful, and that was really lovely.
Why will you remember this story?
Steph was so thankful to me and she was so candid about her experiences, which is incredibly refreshing. She is a very inspirational lady.
Did this story tell you anything about local journalism? If so, what?
We have the unique opportunity to tell people’s stories, who otherwise might be overlooked.
Is there any advice you could give a would-be journalist based on this story?
Take your time to research spina bifida thoroughly, it’s tough to understand. Also make sure it’s put on social media at a time where people have time to read, as it has been written as a long-form piece.