essay 3. beautiful evidence and September 11th reporting


Tufte, Beautiful Evidence
Sante, Luc. Evidence
Bolter, Jay David, Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print chs. 1 – 4

Download printable version of Essay 2 (.pdf).

important links

the assignment

We began the semester looking at representations of the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, considering how the medium—print, web, audio, video—affected the way we as readers and viewers understood the events of that day. For this final assignment of the semester we will again visit the events of that day, to consider a major article (from an important book) and accompanying multimedia published in print and online by the New York Times: "Fighting to Live as the Towers Died."

In "Fighting to Live as the Towers Died" and the accompanying Interactives multimedia—"Inside the Towers" and "Chronology"—Jim Dwyer, Eric Lipton, Kevin Flynn, James Glanz, and Ford Fessenden (published May 26, 2002), report "a haunting chronicle of the final 102 minutes at the World Trade Center . . . , built on scores of phone conversations and e-mail and voice messages. These accounts, along with the testimony of the handful of people who escaped, provide the first sweeping views from the floors directly hit by the airplanes and above." In short, the article and multimedia attempt to provide evidence for what happened in the upper floors of the Towers between the times of impact and their ultimate fall.

For this final assignment, I would like you to use Tufte’s and Sante’s and/or Bolter’s ideas to come to your own conclusion about which evidence presentations that accompany “Fighting to Live as the Towers Died”—the online multimedia Interactives or the images as they appeared in the newspaper—function better as beautiful evidence.

When composing this assignment there are many terms and ideas you may wish to take into consideration, including: evidence presentation; the relationship between text and image; the position of images within text; the role of remediation in the creation of evidence; how writing space media impact evidence; and many others. Of course, you will have to read the whole of the article, “Fighting to Live as the Towers Died.” I have provided the article for you in three formats (see the Readings page): online versions, print version of the online version, and a PDF of the article as it appeared in the paper (without color).

assignment format

Assignment Format You have three options for composing this final assignment. You can compose it as a traditional frame/case essay as we have been doing throughout the semester. You can compose it as a hypertext essay, composing it in the vein of The Unknown hypertext (complete with images) and some others that I can show you. Or, you can compose the essay as a PowerPoint presentation and then as a 3 – 5 minute Voicethread (this option will also require a short reflection on how the functionalities of each application shaped the final composition). Each option has its merits and drawback, and it is up to you to decide which you would like to do. I will hand out separate guidelines for each version of the assignment.

due dates and page requirements

Decide on Essay Format
Wed, April 16, classtime

Screen Shot Analysis and Tuftean Description
Wed, April 23 by classtime

Rough Draft
Wednesday, April 30 at noon

Final Draft

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