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While many media projects have investigated the history, culture, and experiences of various American ethnic minorities, there has been much less examination of how white Americans think about and experience their whiteness and how white culture shapes our society. Most people take for granted that there is a “white” race in America, but rarely is the concept of whiteness itself investigated. What does it mean to be a “white”? Can it be genetically defined? Is it a cultural construct? A state of mind? How does one come to be deemed “white” in America and what privileges does being perceived as white bestow? The Whiteness Project is a multi-platform media project that examines both the concept of whiteness itself and how those who identify as “white” process their ethnic identity. The project’s goal is to engender debate about the role of whiteness in American society and encourage white Americans to become fully vested participants in the ongoing debate about the role of race in American society.

Today survivor testimony is almost exclusively video testimony. Even if this change seems like a minor one (in sync with that from radio to TV and Internet), what matters is the act of witnessing in the communicative context of the electronic media: The visibility bestowed by video ensures the formal “audiencing” of the survivors and consolidates a larger move by them into the public consciousness. Yet testimony at this point also makes us more aware of the interviewer. By 1980 the survivor interviews are no longer standard debriefings, as in the immediate postwar years. They now serve principally both present and past: the present, by assisting the witnesses to retrieve and deal with memories that still burden, consciously or unconsciously, family life; the past, in that guarantees are needed, as the eyewitness generation passes from the scene, that what they endured will not be forgotten. “The mission that has devolved to testimony,” according to Annette Wieviorka (a major French historian who coordinated Yale’s taping in France ), “is no longer to bear witness to inadequately known events but rather to keep them before our eyes. Testimony is to be a means of transmission to future generations.”

This does not mean, of course, that this mission/transmission is without problems. Much has been written about secondary trauma: that is, how some of the effects of trauma suffered by the parents in the Holocaust were involuntarily transferred to the children of their new, post-Holocaust families. (To try and ignore this psychoanalytic issue is a bit like ignoring climate change.) But to give a more common and poignant example of what Wieviorka means by keeping the events, now mainly (if still not quite adequately) known, before our eyes, let me instance an episode from one of the earliest of the Yale tapes in which a survivor describes an incident in Poland during a deportation. When the survivor’s grandmother, an old woman with a broken leg not quite healed, tries to climb into a cart but is too weak to do it by herself, asks in Polish for help, a German soldier nearby says, “Yes, I’ll help you,” takes a gun from his holster, and kills her.

Her grandson, describing this episode, breaks down. He cries, or rather tries not to, contorting his face in a painful, gnawing motion that forces out the words “I’ve seen it.” When he is calm again, one of the interviewers asks him, very hesitantly, whether he could tell what moved him most (or what made him cry at this point in the interview) and whether he had also cried at the time it happened.

The two conjoined questions, though they seem intrusive at first, are, important. The answer to the second question is that he did not cry then, because he was “petrified.” The answer to the first is also simple but strikes me as wonderfully strong, because it comes so close to the agony that preceded it. He cried now because of “the inhumanity: someone asks for help, and that help is expressed as a killing action.”

I’m currently editing a report that addresses in part the issue of vicarious or secondary trauma for those watching graphic footage in order to establish its veracity. I’m struggling to find many absolutely pertinent sources on the specific nature of the trauma engendered by watching abuses or traumatic footage on screen (maybe that’s my own poor research), but then I came across this article, which, once I began it, I had to finish in its entirety.

Data stories — this buzzword links together two different disciplines: computer science and journalism. The new relationship is called data-driven journalism. The emerging product of this relationship: data-based visualization that reveals the story behind the data. However, who produces those “data stories”? A journalist, an information designer, a computer scientist, or a team? New formats often implicate new workflows and a new way of thinking. This paper sets data visualization in the context of online journalism by focusing on the production process. We interviewed 19 experts of German, Swiss, and American media companies: designers, programmers, and journalists. For the analysis of the interviews we used the grounded theory approach. The findings show: The crucial success factor in the production process of data-based visualization in journalism is the attitude that everyone in the team acts as a journalist — no matter whether programmer, designer or statistician. A case study of the New York Times newsroom illustrates our findings.

Data stories – this buzzword links together two different disciplines: computer science and journalism. The new relationship is called data-driven journalism. The emerging product of this relationship: data-based visualization that reveals the story behind the data. However, who produces those “data stories”? A journalist, an information designer, a computer scientist, or a team? New formats often implicate new workflows and a new way of thinking. This paper sets data visualization in the context of online journalism by focusing on the production process. We interviewed 19 experts of German, Swiss, and American media companies: designers, programmers, and journalists. For the analysis of the interviews we used the grounded theory approach. The findings show: The crucial success factor in the production process of data-based visualization in journalism is the attitude that everyone in the team acts as a journalist – no matter whether programmer, designer or statistician. A case study of the New York Times newsroom illustrates our findings.