Down Syndrome – It’s Only an Extra Chromosome (What’s Hidden)

Most people are aware that there can be difficulties associated with Down Syndrome, but few people can actually relate. What’s hidden beneath the surface of Down Syndrome is becoming more evident as the world evolves and more information is discovered. Every person in this world is uniquely different, and we all go through our own experiences that make us who we are. People with Down Syndrome are no different, as they are given their own personalities that define them. The quirks and flaws associated with Down Syndrome are mere personality traits that we learn to deal with and love.

This is particularly true for Justine Hall, who was born with Down Syndrome and gradually became blind throughout the years. For Kerrie Blackwell, her 50-year-old sister, it has definitely been a difficult ride, but one that she would not change for the world. “Even though Justine has lived with my mum her whole life, I grew up with her and I visit her all the time.” Kerrie spoke of her younger sister with fondness and often reminisced about the good times that they had shared. “Of course, there have been difficult times, but they were nothing we couldn’t get through,” Kerrie admitted. “Taking her to the hospital would have to be the hardest. She doesn’t like going to unfamiliar places because she can’t see. You can only imagine how scary that must be.”

When asked if she knew anyone else with Down Syndrome, and how these people differ to Justine, Kerrie thought carefully. “I have met others, although I don’t know them very well. The one thing I do notice is that some of them are quite sociable and outgoing compared to Justine, but all of the people that I know aren’t blind. I think Justine’s lack of sight makes her disability even more severe.”

From observing Justine in her home, it is evident that she brings laughter to a lot of people. Her mother, Judy, is the perfect advocate for this. “She turns all of the lights off, because she thinks that if she can’t see, we shouldn’t be able to either!” Judy revealed, after scolding her daughter for switching off the kitchen lights in the middle of dinner. Justine merely retorted with a cheeky “Can’t see, can’t see!”and returned to her armchair.

“We’re blessed to have her. She wouldn’t be my sister if she were any different,” Kerrie concluded with a smile. “It’s only an extra Chromosome, and that Chromosome is beautiful.”

Click here to see a photograph album of Justine.

Visit the official Down Syndrome website if you have any questions about Down Syndrome, or if you wish to make a donation to this worthy cause.


Down Syndrome Birth Statistics –


To view the Tweets that were compiled in order to promote this project, please click here.


Midsession Break Task 1 – Analysing projects

Although both Nuclear Nightmares: Twenty Years since Chernobyl and Marlboro Marine had very interesting backstories that captured my attention immediately, my favourite of these two projects would have to be Marlboro Marine. This is simply because Marlboro Marine told its story by using captivating narration and images that ensured I did not lose interest. Although I enjoyed the story behind Nuclear Nightmares, I soon became bored, as it relayed its story by incorporating large portions of text and was very simple. Nuclear Nightmares had thought provoking images that were interesting to view, but I also thought that they should have put more images on one page, rather than making you click on “next” constantly.

Marlboro Marine was admittedly not very interactive, but I don’t see why it should have to be. Interactivity can be fun for viewers, as they are able to become involved in storytelling. However, many projects, such as Marlboro Marine, are able to stand on their own merits without having to employ interactivity to maintain interest. Marlboro Marine did this by making use of sounds and images that told stories and created emotions. Viewers became sympathetic towards the characters within these stories due to these techniques, which means that the lack of interactivity in Marlboro Marine did not detract from the story.

Nuclear Nightmares used interactivity to tell its story by making viewers click on “next” so that they could progress to the next page. It allowed viewers to hover over certain words and their meanings would appear, and it also provided hyperlinks that viewers could click on if they wished to read further information. This interactivity was somewhat limited and very simple, and I believe that if this project wanted to make use of interactivity, it could have at least improved its interactivity by using techniques, such as sounds and videos to make it more entertaining and popular to viewers.

The images in both projects were outstanding and very emotional. They were great methods of storytelling, as they provided insight into what was being told in the stories. Both projects made use of dull colours, as the stories were sad and reflected the mood that the people within the stories were feeling at the time. I believe the aim of the stories were to make viewers feel sympathetic towards these circumstances, which I did. However, I felt more sympathetic towards the Marlboro Marine story, as I could sit back and watch the images without having to constantly click on things, so that I could see what happened next. The moment was often lost in Nuclear Nightmares when I had to click to see more images, as it paused my emotions and distracted me from the story.

I don’t think these projects have a huge presence within social media, but I could be wrong. I had previously heard of these stories before writing this blog post, but I had never seen them on social media before. This may be because both projects are somewhat hard to navigate on mobile devices, which is what many people use to read and gain information on in today’s society. Marlboro Marine, in particular, was very difficult to view on a mobile device. It is quite a long video, which means that some mobile devices may take a long time to load said videos, and some might not even support them.

I really enjoyed the Marlboro Marine story and the way in which it was presented. It was a long story, which is why I was so impressed that my attention was constantly in tact. I believe this was because of the interesting narration, images and sound techniques. I liked the story behind Nuclear Nightmares as well, but I think it could have been improved significantly in relation to its interactivity, simplicity in terms of factual information and lack of techniques, such as sound and videos. Overall, I think that both of these stories were just as interesting as the other, but Marlboro Marine presented its story in a much more adequate manner.

Three Inspiring Photographers

Hi everyone,

I have just published my third story on Storify, which details and showcases three inspiring photographers who have created some amazing work. Their photographs are very thought provoking and powerful, so please check them out by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy their work as much as I enjoyed researching it!


Critique of “Walking Out” by Elliot Cameron

Walking Out” by Elliot Cameron is a very intriguing piece of audio work. I usually prefer it when the interviewer cuts their own voice out of interviews, but I feel that Elliott Cameron made use of this technique surprisingly well. His voice sounds very calm in comparison with his interviewee, and I think that creates great character development that coincides well with the story.

Cameron’s use of sound is mostly appropriate. At times I felt that maybe he could have used less ambient sounds, such as the pouring of liquid into a glass and car keys rattling. I was a bit confused as to what that meant , and other listeners will probably have the same issue. However, I think his use of sound worked very well otherwise. I thought that the music added a great sense of the interviewee’s emotions, and worked well with the narrative arc. The narrative arc developed at a great pace, and the interviewee got quite emotional. The use of emotions worked well within this piece, as I felt quite empathetic for the subject in question, which is what I am sure Cameron was hoping to achieve.

Overall, I really enjoyed this audio piece and feel that it was constructed very well.

Tries, Tricky Manoeuvres and Tackling – Erin’s Relationship To The Rugby League Field

Tries, Tricky Manoeuvres and Tackling – Erin’s Relationship To The Rugby League Field

(Erin Blackwell, pictured left).

Scoring tries, actioning tricky manoeuvres and tackling opponents – at just 19 years of age, Erin Blackwell has had the opportunity to experience many milestones on the rugby league field. Erin has been competing in rugby league since she was 16 years of age, and her team has been undefeated in their endeavours since their introduction to the sport in 2011.

Erin’s relationship to the rugby league field is explored in this audio piece, as she explains that she feels encouraged and motivated by the positive atmosphere that is created by spectators, coaches and teammates alike. Erin also participates in soccer and oz tag, which relates to her feelings towards the rugby league field. When Erin is on the sporting field, she is comforted by the fact that she is fortunate enough to partake in such a diverse number of sports that she loves to play.

Erin has experienced a variety of emotions, feelings and conflicts throughout the duration of her sporting career. This audio piece hopes to evoke and reflect these stages through the use of ambient sounds and raw interview material.

Contemporary Journalism: The Way Of The Future

Hi everyone,

I have just created my first story on Storify, and I would love for you to check it out!  It is about contemporary journalism within today’s society.  Using examples, I explore how the convergence of contemporary journalistic methods are beneficial towards creating effective storytelling.

If you are interested, please click here to visit my Storify post.