New App Will Give Voice to 9/11 Oral Histories

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) - Their voices tell their stories - witnesses and first responders recounting where they were and what they saw when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.Now, a web startup called Broadcastr is putting those oral histories on the Internet and on smart phones for the world to hear.When it opens to the public next month, Broadcastr will already be a repository of thousands of audio clips linked to specific geographical spots. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, meanwhile, has collected some 2,000 oral histories of witnesses, first responders and others who shared their experiences of Sept. 11, 2001.Thanks to their partnership, the memorial's oral histories will become available to ground zero tourists and on the Web."This is a way to get these stories out to people who are visiting the city or who are halfway around the world," said Joe Daniels, president of the foundation that is building the memorial. "It's pretty powerful stuff."In one audio clip on Broadcastr's site, city police Detective David Brink describes the moment when the trade center's south tower collapsed."I looked at one of the guys that was on my team. I said, 'Bobby, what the hell was that?' And he goes, 'Dave the whole tower is coming down.' I said, 'You've got to be kidding.'"Brink describes finding himself at the nearby St. Paul's Chapel, where he used holy water to wash the toxic dust out of his eyes."All we wanted to do was find some clean air to breathe," he says in his just-the-facts-ma'am New York accent.Broadcastr is the brainchild of Scott Lindenbaum and Andy Hunter, who met in a creative writing graduate program and founded a literary journal called Electric Literature.Broadcastr seeks to make the human voice as ubiquitous as videos on YouTube or photos on Flickr."It's the oldest form of communication, the oral tradition," Lindenbaum said in an interview. …