Engagement Journalism

Below are various iterations of my work from my time in the Engagement Journalism program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. The community I chose to work with for the duration of the program was birth mothers and adoptees fighting for adoption reform. I worked collaboratively with this community to assess accountability needs and information gaps, utilizing listening posts, callouts, extensive social engagement, crowd-sourcing and working with community leaders and experts. Together we came up with the news product, "Voices of Adoption," which became a multimedia, multi-platform project, that went viral on TikTok, earning 140k views and over 2,000 comments on it's post addressing the Dobbs opinion leak.

Complicating the Narrative with the Adoption Constellation

"From September 2021 through December 2022 I worked with birth mothers and adoptees who are making efforts to complicate the narrative around adoption online. This resulted in a multi-platform project, creating a highly successful TikTok channel, an Instagram page, a private Facebook group and a Substack newsletter. The platforms decided on as well as the content on these platforms were decided upon in collaboration with the community, using deep listening and collecting both qualitative and quan..."

Mental Health & Adoption: A Panel!

The holidays can be hard for a lot of people; this can especially be the case for those impacted by adoption.
Join us this Sunday at 3PM EST (NYC time) for a panel discussion about inherent mental health impacts of adoption and how to navigate this holiday season. This is a LIVA AMA (ask me anything) event, so please come with your questions!
Joining us will be three incredible adoption-competent therapists, who are also themselves impacted by adoption, Marcella Moslow, Amy Barker D'Alessandro and Jennifer Joy Phoenix.
We wanted this to reach as many people in the community as possible as possible, so here are all the ways in which you can tune in:
TikTok: @sajotheadopteehag's page (app-only, does not work on web)
Facebook: Conversations About Adoption ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/conve...) private group as well as the Adoption Savvy Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/getadoptions...)
Twitter: @amandakmchugh (

/ amandakmchugh.. )
YouTube: www.whatnowproductions.com
Twitch: @whatnowproductions
Amanda Kari McHugh, adoptee, journalist and founder of Voices of Adoption will be moderating the panel.
We will also have Sara Jo moderating the TikTok chat amd Jen Matthews moderating Facebook!
Looking forward to seeing you all this Sunday.
_____________________________________________ #adoptiontruth #adoptee #adoptiontrauma #adopteevoices
"*we are using the term birth mother in our graphics because it is what is used legally in adoptions and it is also what AP style says to use. We are aware and empathetic to the fact that this is a term that many mothers dislike. During the live event, we will make sure that our panelists are referred to by a term that is their preference, which will also hopefully help educate a general audience about other terms that are often preferred. It is not our personal perspective that birth mothers are birthing vessels and nothing more. We respect and appreciate all mothers in the adoption constellation."

Coming Out with “The Adoption Constellation”

I grew up like most other kids, except for the first six months of my life, which to this day is a mystery to me. At some point, I was placed for adoption through the Our Lady of Victory Catholic charity and unwed mother’s home in Buffalo, where I waited to be claimed as someone’s daughter. My parents, Terry and Emma McHugh, also adopted my sister Amy. Growing up was a very “normal” middle-class suburban life. I did theater, my sister did sports. We went apple picking and made strawberry jam. We

An Answer to the Failings of Traditional Journalism

An Answer to the Failings of Traditional Journalism

If you’ve been following me on social media lately, you’ll notice that I stopped sharing content around January of this year. That’s nine months, of near-silence. For someone who likens themselves to be a photographer, content creator, and blogger, that’s a huge gap. Even I was surprised when I noticed that gap this evening. But it makes sense, given the trajectory my life has taken since then.

In January I was studying my ass off for my entr

Additional Engagement-Like Projects

Below are projects I produced, in which I employed engagement tactics to make them come to life.

COVID-19 Etiquette: A Public Service Announcement

What Now? Productions LLC

Directed, Produced, and Cinematography by: Amanda Kari McHugh

Starring: Patrick Bean, Tia Bean, Demetre Durham, Kyle Helf, Roberto Hannibal

▶Written by: Drew Rosas and Amanda Kari McHugh
▶Edited by: Amanda Kari McHugh and Brett Mole
▶Sound Effects by: Eric Ugarte
▶Audio Mixing by: Zack Dusedau
▶Title Cards by: Jet Landis
▶Motion Graphics by: Vineet Verma and Brett Mole
▶Color Grade by: Amanda Kari McHugh


✿What to show your support for COVID-19 Etiquette? CHECK OUT OUR MERCH STORE.

✿ Watch More Videos:

✿2019 Filmmaker Reel

✿The Family Tree trailer (2 minutes)
▶ https://youtu.be/V2oGqn1_XHA

✿Burning Man Shaman Wedding Twin Flame Union The Fairy Tale is Real!
▶ https://youtu.be/SuOohVZ-Du8

✿Virtual Panel: Proposition 22 +AB5
▶ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlT4kaXu7K8

Thanks for being with us!

👍 Like the video
💬 Comment if you made it till the end!
🔗 Share the video with anyone you think it might help :)

COVID-19 Etiquette: A Public Service Announcement || PSA : Covid - 19

#covid19 #publicserviceannouncement #psacovid19

Virtual Panel: Proposition 22 +AB5

Still undecided about Prop 22? Not sure how this relates to AB5, or even how this proposition and assembly bill could affect you directly?
Hearing one thing from press, another from drivers you know, and still yet another from that super-liberal friend of yours?
Well here's a panel to help clear things up! For our panel, we've got four well-informed activists, freelancers, and small business owners who have been very active in the fight for job freedom since AB5's inception.
Amanda Kari McHugh, a former rideshare driver and freelance documentary filmmaker, will be moderating, and there will be an open Q&A at the end!

“I Know Catherine, The Log Lady” with David Lynch 🌲

• JOIN THE LEGION OF THE LOG LADY! Become a member of the extraordinary legion of fans, friends and colleagues making this film about CATHERINE COULSON happen! DAVID LYNCH is already in, so what are you waiting for? You'll get INSIDER ACCESS and BEHIND-THE-SCENES UPDATES all the way until the PREMIERE and beyond. Be ready for a lot of WONDERFUL and STRANGE things to happen. And while you get to know us better, please do INTERACT and share your FEEDBACK! Your name will be added to our OFFICIAL W

The Family Tree

• Outreach Partner:

Can't spare the cash but still want help?

Promoting our project via social media and e-mail helps us reach those who can and because of that is most valuable!

Sharing the link to our Kickstarter to a mailing list of more than 500 people, or a facebook group of 1,000+ will **earn you a credit as an "Outreach Partner" in the film credits and on our website! It's a way to bring creative projects to life. Learn more about accountability.
• Santa Claus Gift of Giving Reward

Life Line Booth Trailer

Life Line Booth is a social outreach docu-series (premiering on Pivot TV) where sidewalks in destitute, underserved neighborhoods are transformed into havens by way of donated items, set up there for anyone's taking. Stories and wisdom are shared by the community and intended to shatter the stigmas associated with those experiencing homelessness.

Those watching at home are inspired to give back to others in thoughtful and creative ways, in addition to being encouraged to look out their own bubbles and interact with those forgotten people.

Created and Directed by Ryan Oksenberg.

Do you get pivot? Go to http://getpivot.tv to find out and request it form your cable provider

Selfless LA Springs Into Life

This video is a short documentary about the first engagement project I ever co-produced, which was serving the homeless in LA's skid row:

"LBD Films documented the formative stages of Selfless LA, a non profit organization dedicated to serving the community. Through artist collaboration and by working with organizations such as the Los Angeles Youth Network and various charitable organizations aimed at fighting homelessness, Selfless LA seeks to end the stigma that LA is a city driven only by ego."