Last Thursday I had the opportunity to cover Body Worlds, a worldwide touring exhibition that has drawn more than 33 million viewers and is now at OMSI. A new exhibit is being featured, “Body Worlds and the Brain,” which examines recent findings in neuroscience on brain development and function.
I have to admit: I’m not a huge fan of anatomy. I’m the guy who (still) awkwardly faints when receiving a shot at the doctor’s office. But, once again, my internship forced me out of my comfort zone to cover a subject I normally wouldn’t. And, once again, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
As a reporter, I’m always thinking of what angle to use when approaching a story. Most of the time, if you write about what interests you personally about the subject, you’ll be fine. In this case, it wasn’t so much the “plastination” — the technique for preserving biological tissue that allows visitors to view the inner workings of the human body — that I found fascinating.
Instead, it was the scientific explanations behind some of the human race’s most mysterious tendencies, such as falling in love, acting out as a teenager and why the thought process of men and women differs so much. Most of these odd bodily occurrences are related to chemical reactions, which seems to sum up one of the main themes of the exhibit: Almost everything that happens to a human being — love, heartbreak, disease, anger, dreams — can be tied to some reaction occurring within the body, which is what I wrote about.
Portland is a special stop in the exhibit’s global tour because the city has one of the nation’s leading research institutes in Oregon Health and Science University, which has one of the nation’s premier neurological outreach programs, the OHSU Brain Institute. The institute partnered with Body Worlds to put on the exhibit as both share similar research tendencies and goals.
One of OHSU’s researchers and contributors to the exhibit contacted me personally to tell me how much he enjoyed the piece. This further validates my theory that regardless of how little you know about a subject, as long as you write with enthusiasm, you will succeed as a journalist.