Remediation: Memories of a Not-So-Perfect Dad

Remediation: Memories of a Not-So-Perfect Dad
Photo by Laura Fuhrman / Unsplash

In one of my many past career lives, I was a journalist. The very first story I had published in the weekly newspaper I eventually became a staff writer for, was a guest column about the death of my father in 2008. Not only does it cover the instructions to remediate a piece of writing from my profession, but it also touches on my grief-based discourse community.

I'm sure the Metro Spirit (now defunct) had an online presence in 2008, but it mainly relied on print media. The paper still looked good and had a great design team, but as you will see in the original PDF, it's not as interactive as the digital media most of us are used to now.

To update the piece, I used a Canva newsletter template and added some headers, family photos, and hyperlinks. My design skills are lacking but my touches make the article more interactive and give the reader literal snapshots of what the family looked like when we were younger and what my dad looked like just months before he died. He was only 63, by the way, even though he looks much older.

In Jon Balzotti's principles of design-centric thinking, he states, "The ability to impart emotion from yourself to your reader is a critical skill for designers, and writers. If you can communicate with your audience in this way, the intended effect of your communication is bolstered by your connection."

With that purpose in mind, because my story is a "memory" and told using flashbacks from my life, I specifically chose a format that evoked a vintage style rather than selecting something more modern and flashy. In this article, my writing is more of a creative, rather than technical writing style but the same theories apply.

The story is told as a narrative, so user engagement is dependent on having a catchy title, story flow, and relevant visual elements. I also selected photos and subheadings that advance the story. I hope anyone who chooses to read it is engaged. I want the reader to stick around until the end. I thought about incorporating video, but I couldn't think of anything relevant or appropriate that would add to the narrative.

I made the article accessible by hyperlinking descriptive words that let the user know exactly what they will find when landing on the hyperlink's destination.

Canva is a great tool for adaptability. The article is now in a format that can easily be edited and updated. I can also add multimodal elements in the future should I find a relevant video to add or an infographic of dysfunction to explain complicated family dynamics.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the outcome and am super proud of myself for overcoming my fear of document design, even if it is an amateur effort.

Valerie Emerick

Valerie Emerick

Valerie currently works in Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement at Augusta University as a philanthropy writer. Her fifteen-year career includes technical, grant, news, and feature writing.
Augusta, Georgia