I stumbled upon this idea today. Project 2,996 encourages bloggers to sign up, get the name of a person who died on September 11, 2001, and write a blog post about that person each year on September 11. Unfortunately, the project probably isn’t going to succeed this year; only 1,082 names have been assigned. Perhaps, we’re moving on.

Coincidentally, I’ve had an item on my to-do list for a few years. See, at MPR, we’re losing some of our digital (online) history. Some of our early multimedia work was in a now-dead format. And there isn’t enough time or resources to preserve some of this history in a usable format.

I created this piece below in RealPlayer format — by hand with flat html and xml files, that’s how long ago it was — during the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York. Nobody uses RealPlayer anymore. For quite awhile, I’ve intended to try to recreate it in a proper format. Today seemed like a good day to do it.

Here’s the scene: Members of the Minnesota delegation toured the World Trade Center site. Relatives of some of the WTC dead picketed nearby, because the human remains were taken to a dump. The two groups never met, so I created this piece that contrasted the relatively “sanitary” tour they were given, with the gritty reality of the families. In the process, I was introduced to two families.

The original photos are long gone, so I had to recreate the slideshow using the former size standard — a whopping 225 pixels. I’ve added a couple of new images.

Whatever happened to the issue? A federal judge tossed out the families’ lawsuit last year. The landfill — said to be the world’s largest — is being turned into a park.

Family and friends still write on a Web site dedicated to the memory of Wayne Russo. The most recent was just yesterday.

As for Matthew Horning, the 2,996 Project assigned his memory to a blogger who wrote her piece today.

Photo: Construction cranes work above the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009 in New York. Friday will mark the eighth anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

  • wendy collins

    i’m glad you posted this.

  • Thanks Bob.

    BTW – I was at “Ground Zero” a year ago. It’s still just a hole.

  • A note on the technical side of things, you can still play Real Media files using the VLC media player, which is free and open source.

    I might also note that you recreated the slide show in Flash. Though Flash is ubiquitous at the moment, it bears the same liablity that made Real Media files fade away – it’s a proprietary format owned by a single company (in this case Adobe rather than Real). You might want to look into Ogg, which is still developing, but is open source which helps future-proof it at least some, and is well supported in FireFox 3.5, with no need for plug-ins (more here).

    Just trying to help you avoid having to do this all again in another 5 years.