The primary protagonist of the Kanaka module, William Kaulehelehe, wrote a letter to his hometown newspaper, The Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, in the 1860s, basically complaining that he wasn't receiving the copies he had paid for, and he wanted those. As a former newspaper writer, I found that complaint to transcend time, and I looked closer at when those letters were being sent. One of them was dated April 1865, the same month that General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, the Civil War ended, Lincoln was assassinated, Booth was on the loose, and the S.S. Sultana sunk, which is the worst marine disaster in U.S. history. No wonder William wanted to know what was going on! ... In that time period, the newspaper was print, television, radio, and Internet bundled into a single and slow analog delivery system. Without a newspaper, everything was word of mouth, and news could take months to travel across the country. So we decided to make an alternate reality game of sorts out of this, by embedding summaries of period newspapers in the landscape at Fort Vancouver and asking visitors to walk around the site to find different issues (or the lost Kaulehelehe newspapers, as we dubbed them).
Here is the version of this newspaper imagery we will launch with on June 9, showing an account of the first "base ball" game happening in the 1840s; Fort Vancouver took up the craze soon thereafter:
We also created newspapers for other major national events, such as Lincoln's assassination (with text placed on those images within the app):
And the interesting moment in time in which literature arose through newspaper printings, such as Poe's The Raven, which first was produced in a newspaper:
At the end of each newspaper sequence, users get to take a quiz, to test either explicit knowledge transfer or to find out what users found most interesting about the newspaper summary. These newspaper sequences did begin as digital collages, but gradually grew into the more even and sophisticated designs above. Here are a couple of examples of the starting points:
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