NPR and ProPublica recently published a joint investigative report titled "Brain Wars," which examines the military's response to soldiers who have suffered so-called mild traumatic brain injuries. The collaboration with ProPublica, a non-profit news organization, found that the U.S. military routinely misses diagnosing the injury, and as a result, soldiers aren't getting the treatment they need.
As part of this report, I worked with reporters Daniel Zwerdling and T. Christian Miller to produce this short documentary video about one soldier - Sgt. Victor Medina - who suffered a traumatic brain injury during an IED explosion in Iraq in 2009. The blast damaged his memory, attention, and concentration and left him with migraines and a significant stutter.
Producing this multimedia story was a true collaboration. As well as the original reporting done by Zwerdling and Miller, the video interview was shot by NPR photographer John Poole, home photos and video were collected from Medina and his wife - including footage of the actual IED blast - and still photos were commissioned from Aurora Photos' Blake Gordon. The reports ran on the NPR and ProPublica websites in conjunction with multiple long-form radio stories.
From the initial story planning, to content gathering, production, and editing, this video project couldn't have been completed without the involvement of multiple people - most importantly Medina and his wife, Roxana Delgado. Medina's ability to talk openly about his injury and his struggle provides a window into his vulnerability, but also into his strength.
Read and listen to more from this series:
Part 1: Military Still Failing To Diagnose, Treat Brain Injuries
Part 2: With Traumatic Brain Injuries, Soldiers Face Battle For Care
Timeline: The Battle To Track And Diagnose Brain Injuries
Story: Army Responds To NPR-ProPublica Brain Injury Investigation