Journal entry #3
In answer to the question #2 under the October 28 entry of the syllabus - "Which of the assigned web sites for October 28 is the most effective in terms of their use of new media?" In my view, the most effective use of new media among the choices is the site "Without Sanctuary: Photographs and Postcards of Lynching in America" at http://www.journale.com/withoutsanctuary/.
The site is extremely powerful in terms of content - it is impossible to remain unmoved by the images portrayed on the postcards. James Allen's site uses a simple design to present a collection of postcards depicting lynchings as a narrated flash movie with the images of the postcards fading in and out in concert with the narration. This format emphasizes the power of the images and creates a hauntingly powerful story well suited to subject matter at hand. The accompanying section on photos allows the interested visitor to obtain more information on each of the postcards used in the movie along with, in some cases, a discussion of the meaning and circumstances behind the scene depicted.
The use of a forum for visitor's comments adds a further new media dimension to the site. The forum substantially adds to the site experience by adding the present-day reaction of visitors to a history many of them were unaware of. I also found it interesting to see what people concentrated on in their viewings - many seemed to be unaware that several of the lynchings were of white men, and that the site as a whole is focused on the practice of lynching by whites as depicted on postcards, regardless of the race of the victims.
This site is effective in its use of new media through the combination of a simple, straightforward design with a sophisticated combination of audio and video technology that enhances the impact of the subject matter. The photos section allows readers access to the object database and commentary while the forum serves to add an interactive component of the site that allows for an ongoing enrichment of the site experience through the eyes of other visitors.