“News and Then” is an exciting news-related project under development for American Experience. Funded by the Ford Foundation, “News and Then” is a news-reading experience that connects current events to historical clips from American Experience’s films. Visitors to the site, which we expect to unveil in early fall in beta release, will be able to read current news stories about topics related to social justice, including such things as gay rights, labor rights, violence and the spread of democracy in emerging nations. Upon reading the latest news, visitors will be encouraged to view a film clip from an American Experience movie on a related topic, and react to the news and the clip via an integration with Twitter.
The project builds in part upon the well-known quote from American philosopher George Santayana, who said, famously, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We are struck in working on this project by how often history repeats itself in today’s news: poor working conditions, labor unrest, battles for fair treatment under the law, these are all themes in today’s news that are readily found in the film clips of the past so often portrayed in American Experience’s movies.
Please check back to this space, or at American Experience’s web site, for updates as this project unfolds.