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Press Release

Rising From Ruin: Two Towns Rebuild After Katrina
Year-long series on MSNBC.com documents the immense undertaking of rebuilding after a hurricane

For Immediate Release—While it took Hurricane Katrina only hours to destroy towns along the gulf coast, rebuilding those communities will take years. Over the next year, MSNBC.com will bring the agonizing recovery process to life in a special report: Rising From Ruin: Two Towns Rebuild After Katrina (http://risingfromruin.msnbc.com).

The project will tell the story of Katrina’s aftermath through the towns of Bay St. Louis and Waveland – two small communities on the hard-hit Mississippi coast that have received little media attention – as they struggle with the difficult issues of rebuilding. Rotating teams of journalists will share the stories not just of the recovery process, but also of the townspeople’s and business owners’ struggle to rebuild what they lost to the most destructive storm in U.S. history.

“The devastating few hours after Hurricane Katrina hit were just the beginning of a rebuilding process that will take years,” said Charlie Tillinghast, president and publisher of MSNBC.com, “We are dedicating a full year to follow these stories, and are utilizing our extensive reporting tools to connect the citizens of these communities with our readers.”

Rising From Ruin will be a daily destination for the MSNBC.com audience, combining blog-style field reporting, 360-degree time-lapse photography, citizen journalist dispatches and in-depth multimedia reports in a dynamic, constantly updated format.

An introduction to the towns and its characters launched on October 19, 2005. Over the coming months, the project will continue to grow and evolve:

  • The towns: This “town square” section provides quick and useful background and updates about the town. It will include profiles of key citizens, a running by-the-numbers tally on the recovery effort, FEMA aid, excerpts from local news stories and links to relevant Web sites and more.
  • Daily dispatches: MSNBC.com journalists will report from the towns in blog-style, keeping a running commentary with stories, photo slideshows, audio and video. Reader response will run alongside each post.
  • Citizen diaries: MSNBC.com will feature the blog postings of a diverse array of townspeople as they chronicle their daily lives.
  • Virtual tour: Take a virtual tour of the town through time-lapse photographs of the reconstruction of Main Street and 360-degree-surround panoramics of the changing community. Also planned as the project develops: a 24/7 Web cam and an interactive aerial map using Virtual Earth mapping technology.