I recently watched a multimedia piece on the New York Times website featuring Lifestyles for the Disabled in Staten Island. The piece centers on their vocational program that gives disabled adults the opportunity to practice their communicating skills on the radio. Corey Kilgannon wrote the article, while Emma Cott provided the visuals.
The New York Times does a great job of distinguishing between the two elements of the multimedia piece, ultimately staying away from any sort of boredom on the part of its viewers.
The video focuses on the basics of what Lifestyles for the Disabled is, giving a brief overview of the programs motive, while also giving some background of a few of the participants in the program.
Some elements of the video that stood out to me in particular were its use of L and R cuts, as well as very good transitions and b-roll. One part that stood out to me was around the two-minute mark that showed a company van traveling from their own studio to WSIA, at the College of Staten Island. While the b-roll was playing, Cott was explaining how the program has transformed over its two-year existence, from merely a podcast just for family and friends to now a radio broadcast show on WSIA-88.9.
Another part that stood out to me in the video was an effective use of transition around the 1-minute mark. Over some nice b-roll of participants speaking on the radio in Lifestyles own studio, Cott is explaining that most of their members on the air have autism spectrum disorder. This clip is then followed by Burak Uzun, Lifestyles Media Department Supervisor, explaining the disorder and how the spectrums differ.
The article titled, “Autistic and on the Airwaves,” does a great job of giving the more in-depth details about the program as well as highlighting each individual member and what their personality brings to the radio station.
Those diagnosed with autism usually have extensive knowledge of a particular subject that seems almost uncanny to the average person.
Michael Halbreich, for example, has a strange ability to instantly remember the day of the week that any date in history fell on.
Kilgannon also goes into great detail of how the program has evolved over time. At first, Lifestyle’s Radio Host, Joel Richardson, was simply looking for a place for disabled adults to get a break from their jobs, and build confidence in their communicating skills through podcasts. After Lifestyles installed their very own radio studio, Richardson then realized that some of the podcasts were actually really funny, and began looking for a station to take his show on the air. Just this year, Richardson’s wish was granted, as every Tuesday from 1-2pm, three members of Lifestyles are on the air talking about subjects that they are interested in on WSIA-88.9.
Richardson admits that some participants need great assistance in writing their script, while others create all of their own content, a tribute to the wide spectrum of autism. The shows are far from perfect, but it does develop delayed adults into public life.
“It gives participants valuable cognitive stimulation, and practice at understanding how people are perceiving them, and guides them to stay on topic, not to just serve the conversation,” said Lorraine Millan, behaviorist at Lifestyles.