A Case Study on our “Stories in Care” Campaign for Cooper University Healthcare
Late in 2020, Cooper University Healthcare reached out to Narrative Media in hopes of obtaining creative support for a project they’d initially conceptualized internally. Wanting to offer their recognition and deep gratitude for the countless hours and efforts contributed by their doctors, nurses, technicians, and staff, Cooper’s hope was that they could somehow encapsulate all the highs and lows of this trying, “all hands on deck,” year.
The intent of the project had begun to evolve though, and what started as an effort to boost morale became so much more. Partnering with Narrative Media helped to develop the vision and make the project shine as intended.
Recognizing the importance of sharing this journey in a moving and meaningful way, we got to work immediately. We began the process of scheduling pre-interviews over the phone and through video conferences with Cooper physicians and members of the intensive care team. After a series of intense, and sometimes heart-wrenching conversations, we selected topics and laid out a plan.
We took a delicate approach and set up the series to be conversational, minimalistic, and personal. Visually, it needed to resemble the sense of isolation that health care providers had told us they were feeling. We considered several different filming locations in the hospital, but ultimately settled on a waiting room with a large frosted window that would add visual interest to an interview setup that would already be isolated and sparse by design. Our Director of Photography helped us to visually portray the gravity of what these individuals were carrying by using lighting and framing to create a somewhat dark and sparse mood with few distractions. Finally, we wanted to be sure we captured all of the emotion in the voices of our talent. With that goal in mind, our audio technician made sure to closely mic our on-screen talent. This resulted in a rich and rounded tone in our vocals, which gave our talent a feeling of presence and closeness. These technical aspects helped to set the tone for the stories that would then unfold throughout our interviews.
The interactive nature of the episodes ultimately left us feeling like we got so much more out of this than we knew we would going in. We already knew we’d been given incredibly personal glimpses into the experiences of these providers. But in the end what we walked away with was a strikingly expanded awareness and empathy for these individuals who put their patients first in spite of fear, uncertainty and exhaustion.
The series garnered an incredible response in the public (with over 100,000 combined views), was picked up by a local news outlet, and has been entered for a Telly Award and an NJHA award. Our audience was moved by the profound, yet relatable, stories and the unifying threads of uncertainty, fear, grief, loss, and gratitude that wove their way through the series.
After seeing how much interest these stories generated in the community, Cooper asked us to once again partner with them to produce a second season of these poignant and compelling stories.
While it’s rewarding that these stories have been so well received today, what’s equally important is that they will serve as a historical document. While none of us will forget the pandemic, many of the individual stories and moments that happened over the course of it, will unfortunately be lost to time or memory. This series will help to preserve at least some of the stories of leadership, loss, tragedy and triumph that were lived during this pandemic. Although we can all echo the sentiment of wanting to move on from this, many people are not able to. The chance to “move on,” along with other personal freedoms, is something that’s been taken from so many who have lost loved ones or who continue to struggle with their own mental health. In our next round of interviews, we’ll be talking to a new set of providers and discussing their personal, inward feelings during this Covid-19 experience. Stay tuned for the release of season 2, and take a sneak peek at the behind-the-scenes photo gallery here.