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WVU School of Journalism hosts Hurricane Katrina anniversary event

West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism will host an event Tuesday, Aug. 29, commemorating the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and presenting the school’s updated multimedia Web site that chronicles the stories of Katrina evacuees in West Virginia.

The afternoon event, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in 205 Martin Hall, will highlight the anniversary launch of new content on the student-produced Web site, “Starting Over: Loss and Renewal in Katrina’s Aftermath.”

A team of students and faculty members will provide an overview of the site and present multimedia pieces developed over the past year.

In September 2005, journalism students began documenting stories of Katrina evacuees who were temporarily relocated to Camp Dawson in Preston County, W.Va. In December, students followed some of the evacuees to New Orleans as they returned to their homes for the first time after the storm. Their reporting over the past year resulted in the interactive, multimedia Web site “Starting Over.”

New content added to the site includes updated survivors’ stories, an interactive discussion forum, and personal narratives of evacuees, volunteers, students and faculty. Through photo essays, written stories, multimedia pieces and documentary footage, “Starting Over” shares these stories of survival and hope. Visit the site at

“Starting Over” has received national recognition since its inception. The site was named as a top-three finalist in the online in-depth reporting category in the Society of Professional Journalists’ national “Mark of Excellence Awards” 2006 competition.

Students who worked on the award-winning Web site include Justin Weaver, Fairview; Ivy Guiler, Keyser; Lingbing Hang; Michael Costello, Elkview; Casey Cunningham, St. Marys; Drew Epperley, Beckley; Lindsey Fleming, Parkersburg; Barbara Griffin, Morgantown; Amber Miller, Johnstown, Pa.; Tia Morris, Chester; William Jarrett, Morgantown; Robert Rizzuto, Jamestown, N.Y.; Jenny Parsons, Pursglove; Jennifer Simckowitz, Port Jefferson, N.Y.; Sarah Wesson, Augusta; Jeff Wright, Morgantown; and Colleen Wright, Rush N.Y.

For more information about the “Katrina Project,” contact the School of Journalism’s external relations coordinator, Kimberly Brown, at or 304-293-3505 ext. 5403.