Maia Snow of LeicestershireLive, the online home of the Leicester Mercury, on a story which proved to be very emotional to cover
What was this story about?
A little boy named Bleu who had a serious form of cerebral palsy (plus various other conditions). His cerebral palsy meant that he was completely quadriplegic, but following a life-changing operation paid for by his parents, he had a new lease of life. Unfortunately, he needs expensive therapy for the surgery to be worth it.
How did you find out about this story?
His mum emailed newsdesk.
Can you tell us about what work went on prior to publication?
Just before I was due to speak to Bleu’s mum, Bleu was admitted to hospital with sepsis and had to cancel his therapy setting him back, so I had to delay speaking to his parents until he was better. Fortunately, he improved and I interviewed his mum on the phone and she emailed over some pictures. I also needed to do a fair amount of research to understand cerebral palsy and his other conditions.
What was the reaction after publication?
It got a lovely reaction, particularly from him mum, who was so grateful — that meant a lot to me. It also meant Bleu managed to raise some money for therapy, which was particularly important as Bleu was in hospital and going through a tough time. Notably, an elderly lady phoned up asking to be put in touch with the family so she could send a cheque because she ‘didn’t do the internet’.
Why will you remember this story?
Bleu was such a sweet boy, and despite everything ‘was always smiling’. His mum and dad give him such a good life and they have nothing but hope for him for the future.
Did this story tell you anything about local journalism? If so, what?
This story was picked up by the Mirror, which they probably wouldn’t have done if it hadn’t been for my story. It shows how although we are small, local journalism can have a national impact and bring attention to stories that otherwise might have been overlooked.
Is there any advice you could give a would-be journalist based on this story?
Try not to get too emotional, in case of the worst. But then again,
it’s difficult to not get emotional at stories like these, so maybe it helps.