Brands Telling Their Own Stories: Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center and 9/11

Doctors at ground zero  Google Images

We live in a world where news doesn't break. It just happens and we, as consumers, hear about it, read about it, see it happening, live because of social media. As a result, the traditional news avenues for brands aren't what they used to be.

Today, brands have to self-publish. They must tell their own story because newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations just don't have the time to tell stories like they used to. News is short, punchy and informative these days. Yes, magazines and long form journalism is still kicking to a certain degree, but news outlets are the only one telling good stories.

Take for example, a post I read from Jerry Berger, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center's Director of Media Relations. It's titled, "BIDMC Emergency Medicine Physician Returns to Ground Zero - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center."

The post is about an emergency doctor's experience at Ground Zero and revisiting the site nearly 10 years later:

The true impact of what had taken place hit Ciottone one night when he looked down at his boots. He was covered to his knees in dust from the buildings’ collapse, and had the realization that intermingled in the dust were human remains.

“As I walked through Ground Zero I would become covered in dust, and began to feel that it was, in a way, a sacred place,” Ciottone says. This fact haunted him, and he has not been able to clean his boots to this day, something shared by many of his colleagues. Ciottone’s boots were on display at BIDMC after his return from Ground Zero.

“As I go on today doing my work in the BIDMC Emergency Department, I look back on the day when I and my team were called upon in extraordinary times to assist a nation in need. This is perhaps the greatest honor I will experience in my lifetime. It was clear as soon as we arrived in lower Manhattan that my team was really needed. There was a palpable sense of good versus evil being played-out down there, and I still feel privileged to have worked with such strong and selfless men and women. I will never forget the horrible sounds, smells, and visions of Ground Zero, but more than that I will never forget the goodness of the people.”

Jerry, who I know personally as he was my journalism professor at Northeastern University, is a former scribe. He knows how to write. He knows a good story. He knows all the elements needed to pull the reader in and to get reaction (obviously, as I write this).

However, Jerry HAS to write this piece because one, it's newsworthy per the 10th year anniversary of 9/11, but also, as I eluded to before, there's just no space for this long-form story in today's media world. Instead, BIDMC has to rely on talented staff to write stories, share them within social networks and market the content so it gets into the hands of people like me who can spread it virally.

Touching story. Well written. Kudo's to Jerry and his team for the effort. More importantly, thank you to the doctor's from this hospital (and others) that helped victims and their families on 9/11 and the following days, months and years.

Edit: Jerry reached out to me and said that he's not the author, but rather his colleague, Morag MacLachlan, was. Either way, nice job BIDMC.