I made a program about a remarkable person recently. A story about a dear and longstanding friend of mine. Someone extraordinary. I am so very very proud of her, and how honest, insightful and generous she's remained, through the incredible trauma and difficulty and struggle of her life. She gave it to me freely, we collaborated and I regularly checked in with her as I made editorial decisions, and we both had the same desire - to share in order to help others who had been through what she has, and lost what she has. To comfort them, to let them know they're not alone, and maybe even to influence the decision makers.
But it wasn't easy. Reducing her her life story into 26.5 little minutes made me feel sick at times. That I'd commodified my friend somehow in shaping her story for consumption. There are times when I think being a reporter, a producer, is a disease you don't realise you have. And eventually you understand that actually all those good intentions are just a delusion, a kind of arrogant ignorance, the worst kind of hubris. Will there be any improvement in policy as a result of my program? Unlikely. Yet perhaps there will be comfort for those who most need
Anyway, Tansy's story on ABC RN has gone to air. With a small animation and an article by my friend. It's had a big impact, with all sorts of people getting in touch to say how much it meant to them, and this, in a way, is a mollification for me. I'm glad the work is done, it wasn't easy. And I remain uneasy about the result, but concur that its benefits far outweigh my anxieties.
Radio maker and passionate environmental communicator, Gretchen Miller is available to make you a podcast or teach you how to tell your story.