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A lesson in journalistic objectivity and thanks

Me and my dad at the April Michael J Fox Foundation dinner.
There’s a reason why we as journalists shouldn’t and don’t report on things we’re too close to. It’s hard to be objective when you care about the outcome.

Plus it’s ethics 101.

While it’s not really work related, I was reminded of this lesson recently when my father asked me to help him make a video for his nonprofit.

If you follow me on Facebook or over on Twenty and Change, you’d know I talk about Parkinson’s disease a lot. My dad was diagnosed with it when I was in college, and since then he’s been really involved in telling his story and helping others.

He runs a support group in central Florida. He raises money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation by holding golf tournaments. And he’s a mentor with Team Fox (the fundraising arm of the MJFF). He’s even been recognized at this year’s MJFF most valuable people awards.

Everyone in my family as done some to help him in this journey. For me, it’s running his website and handling social media. Plus I shamelessly blog about it.

I’ve written a column about his journey, but I knew I couldn’t personally tell his story even in video form. One, I’m not visual person, I use words. But mostly because his story is my story, too. I’m too close to it.

Thankfully, YDR’s very own Emmy-winning photographer Jason Plotkin was more than willing to step in and help out. He took time at work to sit down with us and has been working on the video from home.

I think my ethics lesson came back while we were videotaping my dad’s interview. He started speaking the way he does when he gives speeches: Hi, my name is Bob and I have Parkinson’s. And I already know his story too well.

It took an outsider like Jason, who doesn’t know my dad or a whole lot about the disease to break it down and help my dad illustrate just what he’s going through.

And the product couldn’t be better.

So thanks for the reminder Jason, but really, thank you for helping my dad tell his and my family’s story. And the story of all those who struggle with Parkinson’s and those who love and care for them.

Now for the finished product: