It’s the 50th anniversary of one of the most pivotal years in American 20th century history. I’ve been writing about 1968 for Washington City Paper starting with the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination and the civil unrest that followed in Washington, DC. What I discovered is no person or event can fit neatly into a pre-constructed box. Neither did this story.
“Riot. Rebellion. Resurrection.” became a trans-media project beginning with a print story that evolved into a live event — #RRR1968 — at The LINE Hotel in DC (podcast link). A moderated a panel with with several persons featured in the article, plus historian Marya McQuirter who founded the dc1968project.com, an online calendar of daily events, many reflecting the community activism and creativity of the time. The Hard Revolution playlist I created, featuring music mentioned in George Pelecanos’s crime novel (set in DC in 1968), was playing in the hotel lobbies. City Paper published the playlist online.
Finally, the story rounded out with a guest appearance on “The Scholars,” a public affairs program hosted by E. Ethelbert Miller and produced by University of the District of Columbia television.
There are certain stories that work well and become more dynamic using a trans-media approach. For this story, it was an opportunity to break out of the box or even a single device.