Digital Narrative: Fall

Academic Year 
2013-2014
College/Department 
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences - Department of Rhetoric
Project Partner 

Honors rhetoric students collaborated with two groups in the School of Urban & Regional Planning, and the Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning (IDEAL) program, to develop digital texts that will help tell the story and effectively message the Mississippi riverfront redevelopment project and Connectivity master plan project to citizens of Muscatine. The rhetoric students became familiar with the work the urban planning students were doing in Muscatine and worked closely with groups to determine the best ways to reach target audiences with messages relevant to their work. The rhetoric students designed digital texts, podcasts are available here:

  • The Integration of the Two Communities of Muscatine: The Anglos and the Hispanics
    An exploration of how well-integrated the Hispanic community of Muscatine is with the rest of the city and whether or not more integration is necessary through interviews with the locals.Muscatine, IA has a large Hispanic population. We were curious about how well-integrated the Hispanic community was with the rest of the city’s inhabitants. We went to Muscatine to interview members of the community, both Hispanic and Anglo, at a Catholic church that holds mass in Spanish and a Mexican restaurant. We found that there are differing opinions on how well-integrated the two communities are depending on the perspective of the speaker, and ended up wondering if we should really be focused on integration at all, or on celebration of differences.
  • Muscatine: A Tale of Two Histories History
    Devin Pettit, the residential history buff in Muscatine, illustrated two histories in the riverfront town. Furthermore, he explained that these two histories are correlative to what the city is today.Muscatine has been through many changes and alterations throughout its history as a city on the river. However, the technological developments that brought industry and business to the town a century ago were been short-lived, but remnants of its heyday are still evidenced in the factory buildings lining the riverfront today. Our group wanted to learn more about this history. We wanted to discover the reason for the remaining remnants of the formerly great button industry.
  • The Muscatine Connectivity Project: Connecting the Mississippi River Trail in Muscatine and its Benefits
    The Mississippi River Trail, a bike path that runs from Minnesota to Louisiana with a few gaps in Eastern Iowa, should be fully connected in those areas to bring more bikers to the Muscatine area for economic and touristic benefits. Our project features the story of the Mississippi River Trail, and unfortunately, some of its faults. Though quite impressive, there are gaps in the trail through the Muscatine and Eastern Iowa Area. Our project explores these gaps and the benefits they would bring to the Muscatine area if the trail were to be completed. Both Chris Steinbach, a leader of the Melon City Bike Club, and Andrea Cohen, a bike shop employee and resident of Davenport, agree that completing the trail would bring touristic, economic, and community benefits to the area.
  • Tales of the River: Muscatine
    Two Muscatine residents provided us with stories and memories about the river.Two long-time residents of Muscatine shared with us their stories and memories about the Mississippi River in Muscatine. Both of the residents, Anita and Michael, have lived in Muscatine for a considerable portion of their lives. They each told stories about events they witnessed on the river, for example Anita shared some stories about accidents on the river and Michael shared some memories he had when he was a boy. Anita and Michael were especially interested in the boats that frequent the Mississippi in Muscatine. They had been on a few boats and really thought that the activities on the Mississippi made the river and the town more exciting.
  • The Walking School Bus in Muscatine
    Our interest in connectivity and student health led us to Joni Axel, Community Program Manager of the Blue Zones committee in Muscatine, who spoke to us about the Walking School Bus program.We met with Joni Axel, the Community Program Manager of Blue Zones in Muscatine. She discussed the modern-day fears about kids walking on their own, as well as the way that the paths in cities inhibit movement. She was adamant about kids needing more exercise, offering many examples and ideas about how to improve these habits. One such way to implement more exercise for kids and appease the fears of parents is the walking school bus. This was an idea that Joni was instrumental in incorporating in Muscatine, and she continues to play a key role in its application. She knew a lot about the walking school bus program and was very passionate about it. Her enthusiasm about the program got us excited about its goals and encouraged us to look critically at our own lifestyles and share her message with others.