Changing the Narrative

By | May 9, 2016
The academic achievement gap in Madison is shocking and upsetting, but constantly hearing these numbers perpetuated does not fix the problem.  This is the story of defying the odds and finding solutions – of charting one’s own path to success despite systemic barriers.  Shaikobie McGee is a high school student in Madison who struggled academically as a freshman.  Now graduating from Madison Memorial High School, Shaikobie, with the help of an influential teacher and encouragement from Black Student Union, was able to change her narrative.

4 thoughts on “Changing the Narrative

  1. Tim Morrissey

    Melissa – this is a really good piece about a really important topic. You’ve done a first-rate job on this production. From the opening montage and nat sound, through the interviews, all the way to the conclusion, you keep the narrative moving with interesting visuals, powerful scripting, and really good production. All I have for you is encouragement. Keep telling your stories. This is good stuff.

  2. David Sanks


    A terrific piece. It is engaging, has clarity, is focused, and is emotionally intensive.

    I hope you are considering subsequent stories. This is a wonderful start to a series of reports on “Changing the Narrative”. There are very clear choices you can make to turn this into a multi-part report or documentary. This and more belongs in the visual media and it should be seen by the masses.

    I really like the use of first person story telling. When the people involved in the story tell the story through their own narrative, that is what captures attention and concentration from the viewer. Nicely done.

    You have demonstrated journalistic skills and knowledge that are solid. Have you decided if you want to be a visual journalist working for a specific entity like a television network or an online news source? Are you most interested in short form or long form story telling? These are questions to ask yourself if you have not already.

    Congratulations on a wonderfully compelling story.

    David Sanks

  3. Dean Maytag

    Melissa, this is excellent story telling. A powerful look at an important topic. I liked the documentary “feel” of the piece, it drew me in and I felt like I was getting an intimate look at the story. It has an emotional punch to the story that made me think about the subject.

    Thank you, well done!

  4. Joyce Garbaciak

    Melissa: Nice work with this piece. You made me care about your main character and you demonstrated the premise of success based on positive intervention by showing us the relationship between the teacher and Shaikobie. Good use of music — it didn’t overpower anything. It can be challenging to tell a story without narration but you were able to do so. Congratulations on getting the access you did. That’s often half the battle.


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