Multimedia StoryTelling

By the students of MCJ300 at The University of Southern Mississippi

A New Perspective on the Tornado

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In the wake of the recent tornado, many media outlets mentioned the fact that our university was on a Mardi Gras break. In their initial report, CNN even went so far as to assume and report that there were no students on campus at all. Only later in the report did they correct it to the accurate estimate of 500-800 students. I was one of those 500-800 students. But I was included in an even smaller number of those students because I was required to be here because of my job as a resident assistant.
Because I had chosen to take he Easter holiday off, I was expected to be present in the residence halls for Mardi Gras break. I acted as the alert system for many residents who did not even know a tornado warning had been issued. It is part of our policy during weather emergencies to knock on each and every door and inform residents that they are required to come out of their rooms and move to the first floor hallway, which is generally designated as the safest area in the building.
When I originally formed the idea for this post, I had planned on posting a video of the tornado taken by another RA in the McCarty residence hall, Lucas Gandy. However, when I searched his Facebook page for it I only found this statement: “I’ve been flooded with messages asking why I’ve hidden my tornado video. A number of things have happened but here’s the final conclusion for my footage: I gave exclusive rights to Sr. Vice President for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions to use my video. He travels sponsoring tornado safety at his educational seminars. He also wishes to present it at the American Meteorological Society’s storm warning conference this summer. I appreciate all of the kind comments and support that was made on my video but I feel that it’s in better hands and can help a lot more people in his care.”

Commenters on other blogs where it had been featured suspected that it had been removed because it violated the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act by showing identifiable students in a residence hall setting. It is unfortunate that the video is no longer public, because it was an excellent example of documentary style storytelling, and of a weather emergency from an RA’s point of view.


Written by jessicaeking

February 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

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