It’s amazing how fast news travels in this day of everyone-and-their-grandmother-is-on-Facebook, but man oh man is it ever true. Literally overnight news organizations around the world were contacting us about the Target post that went viral. (There were even stories written in foreign languages published about it, it was seriously unbelievable!)
To be honest we were uncomfortable with all of the media attention the blog post was getting. This was the first time we had ever been a part of anything like this and to be honest it was a little of scary and overwhelming. The number of phone calls and emails we received from various television producers (many of them very well known) wanting to inquiring about us appearing on their program was mind blowing. It was literally one after the other. It started to get overwhelming very quickly, and we were thankful when things started to calm down.
Trying to make the most of our 15 minutes…
As I mentioned, I never imaged the post was going to go viral when I published it and of course we weren’t prepared for the overwhelming number of people trying to contact us. I mean would anyone really ever be ready for something like that?
We were very selective in the number of interviews we did. Noah was only 12 months old at this point and we wanted to be sure it wasn’t to much for him. In addition, as most typical american families we have a pretty busy schedule, and had commitments we needed to attend to in the midst of all this.
However, it was important for us to be good stewards of the platform we had been given to help bring awareness to Down syndrome in general, but more specifically we wanted the world to be aware of the high number of children that are aborted prenatally for no other reason than that there is a chance they could be born with Down syndrome. We knew that stories didn’t last long in the press, and we wanted to be sure used our 15 minutes to help bring awareness to a cause we are very passionate about….LIFE!
A crash course in media relations
We had never interacted with the media before, and we learned a lot throughout the entire process; specifically how, umm…. creative the editing process can be. In addition, I’m a talker, and interviews aren’t made for talkers. They’re made for short sound bites (something that is hard for talkers like me!) As we watched some of our interviews we cringed at how some of our comments came across when separated from their original context.
For example I was talking to one of the reporters about how when Noah was born I had a hard hard time finding a lot of positive videos about Down syndrome online. While I found a lot of really great blogs written by families raising a child with Down syndrome, I”m a visual person and wanted to see videos. I didn’t know much about Down syndrome and wanted to find some every day videos of a family raising a child with Down syndrome so I could try to get an idea of what our life was going to be like moving forward. Also most of the blogs and video I did find were written by mommy bloggers, and as a dad, I really wanted to find something from a dad’s point of view. (No offense to all the mommy bloggers out there…y’all are awesome!)
Since I had such a hard time finding the videos I was looking for, and limited blogs written by fathers who were raising children with Down syndrome, I decided I would start a site that would hopefully be the kind of site I was looking for… for someone else.
This is what I was trying to explain to the reporter….
As clear as I thought I was being, here is how all of the above came out during the interview:
“When Noah was born I had a hard time finding positive information about Down syndrome online.”
Fail! This makes it seems like I think our site is only place online where someone can find positive information about down syndrome. Ha,ha. This couldn’t be further from the truth! We were (and still are) new parents. We’re just sharing our story as we go along. We are far from Down syndrome (or parenting) pros! In fact there are thousands of amazing websites written by parents raising children with Down syndrome, not to mention all of fantastic Down syndrome organization websites out there like NDSS and DSE.
From this point forward we tried to make sure it was clear that it was videos about Down syndrome, not information, that we had a hard time finding, and how thankful we were to join so many other amazing families that are helping the world learn more about Down syndrome as they blog and tell their story! If you want to meet more of these awesome families check out Noah’s Dad Twitter, and Facebook page! We may not have said everything perfectly, or as clear as we would have liked to, but such is the nature of the press. However we certainly hope that we helped to communicate the joy that our son has brought to our life….3 copies of his 21st chromosome and all! 🙂
The first baby I’ve ever seen with Down syndrome on TV….Baby Noah!
I have to say that for a 12 month old Noah did great during the various interviews we were a part of over the last few days (all the pictures on this post are taken during a two day period!) I was so proud of him, and even more proud to be a daddy to this little boy in front of the world! Words can’t express enough how much I love this little boy!
I’ve mentioned previously that that before Noah was born pretty much everything I knew about Down syndrome I learned from watching T.V, but I would have never guessed that back when I was watching Life Goes On that a son of my own (that just so happened to have been born with Down syndrome) would be on tv one day himself!
It may not seem like he said much, but in the back of mind mind I like to believe that even though he didn’t say any words, he said a lot. I like to believe that even if it was only for 15 minutes he helped get topic of Down syndrome in front of the world. That someone, somewhere who had just received a Down syndrome diagnosis (and possibly even considering abortion) decided to choose life after seeing the massive amount of joy that Noah has brought to our life.
I may never know if this really happened, but I know do is there is tremendous power when you and I share our story. If you are a parent of a child with special needs you are the biggest advocate in the world to your family, friends, and local community. As you share with people the unique aspects of your family, you help them exchange inaccurate stereotypes for true ones, and that’s a win!
Check out the interviews…..!
Here’s our interview with WFAA if you’d like to check it out.
And here’s the one with Fox 4.
Do you think interviews like these make an impact on our culture? Do you enjoy seeing the media cover stories about people with Down syndrome? What recent stories have you seen covered in the media about people with Down syndrome? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.