For many Alabamians, it may be hard to believe it has been nearly three years since the storms of April 27, 2011. But this year's class of seniors at The University of Alabama is the last class of undergraduates who were students when the storm hit. One group of young journalists at UA says they are surprised at the lack of knowledge some underclassmen have of April 27, and they wanted to do something to preserve the history.
That led to "91 Minutes in April," a special feature of College of Communication and Information Sciences' news Web site, Dateline Alabama. "We're just hoping to inform people about what happened, and just kind of be a reminder that this community came together after that day," Alex Rice, UA student and Dateline Alabama journalist, said. "The incoming students, they see some of the damage, and they see the reconstruction, but they don't remember how it was originally."
The site is set to go live on Sunday, April 27. The journalists describe it an interactive site with video, audio, mapping and personal stories of April 27, 2011 and the three years since then. They say through their research, they believe the deadly storms took 91 minutes to move across Alabama, which led to the site's name.
The students who have experienced the recovery say they will take the experience with them once they leave Tuscaloosa. "Normally in a college town, you see a divide," Casey Voyles, UA student and Dateline Alabama Managing Editor, said. "You see the community, and then you see the students. And when something tragic like this happened, it didn't matter anymore. That divide, you know, was dissolved. And all of the sudden everybody became one."