the kdmcinfo weblog

The Powerful Response to An Emotional Visual Story

The following post is by Eric Seals (May '08), a multimedia journalist with the Detroit Free Press. He and a colleague told the powerful story of a high schooler about to make the transition to college who was forced to become a man at the age of 9.


By Eric Seals

Detroit Free Press reporter David Jesse and I first met Marcus Buggs on December 6, 2011, at one of the two schools he attends. We were doing a story about senior high school students making the transition to college and Marcus stood out. His mom had been in and out of jail several times, and his dad was shot and killed by his uncle when he was 9-years-old.

Marcus and his 4 siblings were taken in by their grandfather who gained custody of them, and Marcus had to help raise them while juggling school and life as a teenager. Even with all this, Marcus maintained a 3.2 GPA while going to two different schools. He played basketball and found a few adult mentors who wanted to do everything to help him succeed and be the role model of achievement for his younger siblings.

The article that David Jesse wrote, my stills and the 7-minute-long video I produced came out on Tuesday. The response was immediate. David got lots of phone calls and emails from people asking what they could do to help. One person emailed saying they wanted to be able to pay for Marcus school books for his entire college education. One president from a university in Michigan had his administrative assistant contact one of Marcus' principal to set up a time to talk to Marcus personally about coming to his school.

With reader comments usually being a mix of good and nasty, the story of Marcus had an overwhelming majority that were very positive.

David and myself will continue to follow Marcus doing over rest of this year. In April he'll be attending his first ever prom and I'll be there. When he graduates, we'll be there, too. When he moves onto college and starts his first semester, we'll be there writing articles and doing video storytelling on this remarkable guy.

See the full story at the Detroit Free Press.