Where Were You? Students' Stories of the Boston Marathon Bombing • An ICMPA Media Literacy Project
How do you remember the events of your life?
In a media literacy class at the University of Maryland, College Park, students wrote of how they learned of the Boston Marathon bomb blasts on Monday, April 15, 2013.
One week and one day after the bombing, students were asked to relate the story of how they heard the news or how they reacted to it. They were asked if media played a role in how they learned of the attack — and all the events that followed, including the Friday lockdown in the Boston metropolitan area and the final capture of the surviving suspect in Watertown, Massachusetts.
To illustrate their stories, students were asked to upload a photo taken during that week.
Working individually, students took the hour-long class period to write the story that they thought best described their encounter with the terrorist attack and — if they wanted — with other news events the same week: the explosion of a fertilizer plant in West Texas, a massacre outside Damascus, Syria, poisoned mail sent to the President and a US Senator, a 7.0 earthquake in Sichuan, China.
Following a semester that included visits to the Newseum and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, media literacy college students were asked to write their own story of how they learned about the Boston Marathon bombing. The writing exercise asked the student to consider the importance of media records of events as well as the value of personal recollections of them.
The students who wrote the stories later visited this site in class (and gave their permission to have their stories told in public). They looked (again) at their own written reflections and compared then to the stories of their friends and peers.
They discussed how the stories were unique. And they considered the shared ideas and issues that had emerged.
They recognized patterns among the stories.
The students told tales of fears and desperate hopes, of selfishness and selflessness, of prayers and of patriotism.