For the last several months, Journal reporter Laura Graff pieced together the story of Elizabeth Lentz, Ms. Wheelchair North Carolina 2011. It’s a remarkable and moving piece of serial journalism that gives readers an intimate look at the life-shattering experience of traumatic injury and the personal courage it takes to rebuild a life.
A spinal cord injury, the result of a motorcycle accident, left Elizabeth unable to walk. At first, she didn’t have any intention of following the doctors’ advice or going through the grueling ordeal of physical therapy. But at a critical moment, her daughter, Ivey, took her hand and led her onward.
Laura Graff is a terrific writer, and I’m lucky to know her. And photographer Lauren Carroll, who worked alongside Laura on the project, is one of the very best. Neither of them is a videographer, but both of them recognized that the printed word and still images just can’t convey the power of some moments. Sometimes, only a moving image will do. Sometimes, the meaning is wholly conveyed by the cadence, the intonation, the rise and fall of a person’s voice. For all the beauty of great writing and pitch-perfect photography, video conveys the emotion of a moment in a unique and powerful way.
On several of their reporting trips, Laura and Lauren took along a video camera, the kind that you might lug along to a family reunion or a trip to the beach. They brought the footage back to me, and I had the privilege of making something from it. I don’t know that I did it justice, but I tried my best. That’s all I know to do.
We produced three video pieces to accompany Laura’s nine-part series.