What Works : Andover autistic boy gets global birthday wishes

Recently, I have been finding many what works articles via, Twitter, which is where I again found this one.  The headline really grabbed me.  Being from Massachusetts, I liked to still keep up with local events.  Andover is a city down the road from me, so seeing it in a global perspective definitely interested me.  The headline made it seem like it would be a feel good story, and I really wanted to read it and see what it was all about.

There are a couple factors that make this story newsworthy.  For myself, proximity was one, as I live so close to the town and it is near where I grew up.  For being in a Boston newspaper, this story absolutely had proximity.  It also has impact for a great number of people.  There are many families that have children with disabilities.  For these people, this story definitely has impact, and will make them feel good about their situation.  Finally, this story is a bit of an oddity.  It is not every day you read a story like this.  It’s not an everyday thing for people all over the world to send a little kid birthday presents.

I’d say that this story has a narrative lead.  Although it starts with a sentence, the author goes on to expand on this sentence.  The first paragraph also does not really convey the message of the story, and we get to this further down.  By using a narrative lead, the author is able to slowly get into detail about just how much of a birthday fanfare this boy received.

I would say that the nut graph of this story is the fourth paragraph down.  Although a short paragraph, this really shows what the story is going to be about.  It describes how soon, the family started to receive gifts from not just the local community, but all over the world.  By saying this, the author is able to expand on this and go into detail about what the boy was receiving and where from.

I think the story is great because of the detail, which there is certainly enough of.  The whole second half of the story is based on the gifts and acts of kindness that the little boy got.  I think the last paragraph, and the quote,‘‘The fact that this many people that we’ve never met before would take the time, and the energy, and the money for postage, and send a kid they don’t know — in some cases across the world — a card for his birthday, to me, that’s inspiring,’’ James Pearson said. ‘‘It just amazes me that people will do that,” is the best takeaway of the story.  It really hits the reader hard.  This quote shows how much these acts of kindness meant to the family, as well as how much of an impact this created for them.  It gives the reader a sense of happiness.

This story provided a few different sources.  The first were the parents of the boy.  This provided an inside source, and they were able to express the feelings of the entire family.  Their mailman was also interviewed.  I think this was a really smart choice of a source to use.  He provided the impact of the story.  ‘‘After the first day, I was getting handfuls of cards,’’ O’Connell said. ‘‘I didn’t know who Logan was at the time and was curious who he was. I started getting envious. I don’t get half these greetings.’’  This was a great quote, and showed how people involved in creating a great birthday for the boy felt.

There was unfortunately no multi media used.  A video would have been a great addition to this story.  If there was a video that panned around and showed all the gifts received, it would have been a really great way to show the impact.  Also, seeing the happiness on the families’ face would have been great.

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