Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Veterans Day

November 9, 2007

Speaking honestly, Veterans Day doesn’t rank very high on the list of holidays for most Americans. Of the patriotic holidays, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, the 4th of July is the nation’s birthday party (plus it has fireworks!) and Thanksgiving has food, family and football. Even Labor Day–and three day weekend it brings–probably gets more national love.

Some of that probably has to do with the holiday being held in concert with Armistice Day or Remembrance Day around the world to mark the end of World War I (the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month…”), and event that scared Europe and others parts of the world far more than the United States.

But if you’ve visited this space before you know that all of our thinking here at KETC has been changed in the last year because of our involvement in collecting the St. Louis story of World War II as part of the Your Stories project. One of the major efforts of this project was the collecting and presenting of the names of the nearly 5,000 men and women from the St. Louis area who lost their lives in service to their country during the war. We will once again broadcast those names in the program In Honor of St. Louis’ Fallen 1941-45 this Sunday, November 11, at 1:30 p.m. You can see a listing of the names online as well on our Your Stories site.

As for me, I’ll spend this Veterans Day thinking about what it means for anyone at anytime to provide service in defense of our country. And I’ll make a promise to myself to not forget about Veterans Day ever again.

Mike

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300 and Counting…

October 8, 2007

That’s how many World War II memories we’ve recorded on the Your Stories site. And we aren’t done yet by a long shot. We are adding more stories just as fast as we can, whether they are submitted online, by email or good old U.S. mail. In fact, by the time I finish this post we may be at 301 or 302…

So in case you hadn’t heard: we aren’t done yet. We still want you to share your stories with us.

And once again, I have to say a big thanks to our interns who have kept this project going. They’ve made it possible for Your Stories to become success it has. So thanks once again. We can’t say it enough.

Mike 

4,889 Individuals

September 20, 2007

It’s hard for me to believe that the debut of Ken Burns new film, THE WAR, is actually here.  THE WAR debuts nationwide on Sunday, September 23.  At Channel 9, we’ve been planning and doing this work around WWII for many, many months.   We’ve all been profoundly moved by the conversations we’re having with the community–it’s as if the Channel 9 family has grown much larger as a result of sharing these stories of WWII.  

One of our proudest efforts has been to document the names of all the service men and women from our region who died in service to their country during WWII.  This list includes the names from all branches of the military including the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine.  This list has never been before compiled from our region.  It is hugely powerful to see these 4,889 names and realize all of these brave individuals were just that–individuals with families and hopes and dreams.  Channel 9 has created a living memorial to these individuals with In Honor of St. Louis Fallen:  1941-1945, a one hour production that will air on Saturday, September 22 at 8:30 pm.  This memorial also includes local images and audio interviews that we’ve collected through Your Stories:  St. Louis Remembers World War II.  I think it’s going to be very moving and I hope that you’re as moved as all of us are by these stories.

Shameless Self-Promotion

September 11, 2007

As I think more than a few people have said, if you’ve watch KETC at all during the last couple of months, you’re probably aware that we have been telling the World War II stories of St. Louis. Last night we tried to pull it all together with a broadcast of a compilation of Your Stories, as well as having some of the people we’ve met along the way live in our studio. If you missed it—or if you want to see it again—we will re-air the program tomorrow (September 12) at 7:00 p.m.

We’ve also tired to pull the stories together in two sets of DVDs. Here’s more information on how you can own them for yourself. We are very proud of the work we’ve done on this project, and hope you’ll not only want to have these DVDs for your collection, but also as a way to show your support for what we’ve done and are continuing to do for our community.

In just a couple of weeks, America will be talking about WWII when The War debuts on PBS stations across the country. But here in St. Louis, we’ve been hearing, recording, telling and showing stories for months, and what we’ve learned has moved us in ways I don’t think we imagined when we began. So allow us a moment—but just a moment—to look back and smile on the work done. Thanks.

Mike 

More on Monday Night

September 7, 2007

Here’s a little bit more on our Your Stories program coming up Monday night:

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Tune in for a Summary, if You Will

September 5, 2007

This coming Monday night is shaping up to be an exciting night for us, and we hope for you. Starting at 7:00 p.m. right here on KETC/Channel 9, we are going broadcast a special program that will serve as a summary—if you will—of our Your Stories project by featuring many of the stories you’ve seen on Living St. Louis as well as some of the other pieces we’ve created (or are creating) for the project. It should be a moving night of television.

Full disclosure: the program is a pledge program, and we are going to be asking for your support to help us with this project and future projects like it. But we hope the night will show you the sort of impact the project has had, and continues to have.

I’m going to try and post a promo as soon as I can get it, and hopefully that will give you more a feel for what we are doing. But please tune in Monday if you can. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  

Suburan Journals

August 17, 2007

Metropoliton St. Louis–some see urban sprawl, others see a collection of small communities. When looking through the lens of the Suburan Journals, I definitely see a collection of small communities. No matter where you live in the area, there’s a Suburan Journal to serve the needs, interests and  uniqueness of the people in that little pocket of the landscape.

When trying to publicize something as large and far-reaching as Your Stories, however, navigating the crazy quilt of the Journals is tricky. Their readership is about 725,000, broken up into bits and pieces of 2,000 to 40,000 homes. Whom do I send information to?

I send releases to every editor, of course, and to the one writer who is unilaterally picked up by all the Journal newspapers–Janice Denham. Your Stories piqued her interest, and she came to Channel 9 to interview President and CEO Jack Galmiche.  Her resulting article perfectly described everything that Your Stories is about, including a coda that gave my name and phone number as the person to call for the Your Stories speakers bureau.

Her story hit on Wednesday. I know this because I began getting phone calls from nice people wanting to know how to go about sending in their WWII story. Lots of calls. That’s wonderful. But for anyone who every doubted the reach of the Suburban Journals or the power of the press, try having them publish YOUR phone number.

VJ Day

August 15, 2007

Today—August 15—Is VJ Day, the day Japan announced it would surrender (although the actual surrender ceremony wouldn’t take place until September 2) in 1945. These are the sort of dates we all learned and were tested on during school. And while a certain amount of history knowledge is no doubt a good thing to have (as Ken Burns has pointed out, 40 percent of high school seniors think we fought with the Germans against the Russians during World War II), one thing the Your Stories project has taught me is that fact and dates take on a new significance when you know what is behind those dates and facts. 

An example? Here’s one from the war in the Pacific, the one that ended on August 15, 1945:

  

Black and White

August 14, 2007

We’ve heard a lot of stories about the heroism of those who served in World War II, but it is worth remembering that, as veteran Richard Hancock tells us, the 1930s and 40s were not free of prejudice, in or out of uniform:

It has been suggested that we should have more video here on the Your Stories blog (we are, after all, a TV station), so we will be trying to bring you more and more of the work we’ve done. We’d like to hear from you, however, as to what you’d like to see. More of our shorter memories, or more of our longer (5-6 minutes or so) stories?

Let us know. 

Mike

Learning the Future Through the Past

August 8, 2007

One theme we’ve talked about quite a lot in this space is that we are cataloging the past so it won’t be lost forever. But we are also trying to find the best way (or ways, rather) to present those stories so that they are more than just an archive, but a history for all to experience. That is why we are blogging here and uploading our videos to YouTube.

Other PBS stations are tying some of the same things, and know we aren’t the first to think that there may be opportunities out there, and I’m sure there are opportunities out there we haven’t thought of. Still, I think it’s interesting that we are really trying to learn the future through the past.

Mike