Audio Storytelling. Writing. Photos.
Read on for samples.
(Or Find bio here.)


Death in the Digital Age.

A Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Project.

 
Katie Thornton Death in the Digital Age Fulbright National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow Audio Cemeteries
 

As a 2018-2019 Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellow, I am traveling to the UK and Singapore to produce “Death in the Digital Age,” a multimedia project about the changing role of memorial spaces in our urbanized, digitized world. Visit the project page to learn more. You can also follow the project on Instagram, or sign up to receive occasional email updates.


Audio Stories.

Education. Entertainment.

Published by: Radiotopia’s “99% Invisible” podcast
Work: A 35 minute documentary about the constant exchange of land between the dead and the living in modern Singapore—as told through one particularly intriguing cemetery-turned-housing-project.
Click to go to story

“Eternal Fandom”

Published by: National Public Radio’s “Only A Game”
Work: A radio story about one London football club that makes it easy for lifelong fans to become eternal fans—and the impact it’s having on families of the deceased
Click to go to story

“What Is Death in the Digital Age?”

Published by: BBC Sounds
Work: An audio essay exploring the emotional—and environmental—impacts of our digital and virtual remains
Click to go to story

"Why She Skateboards, Despite the Pain"

Published by: KFAI's "Minneculture"
Work: A Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists Award-winning personal audio essay on skateboarding with chronic illness
Click to go to story

"Keep Moving Forward"

Published by: The Association of Minnesota Public and Educational Radio Stations and the Minnesota State Council on Disability; aired on 17 stations across MN
Work: A 90-second story, part of a state-wide educational campaign featuring adults with disabilities. I identified this featured individual, conducted the interview, and produced this story
Click to go to Karen's story

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Published by: Lakewood Cemetery
Work: This feature is part of a larger "Artists and Performers" Mobile Audio Tour, for which I performed all research, writing, and production. (2017)
Click to go to Beatrice's story

Other audio stories (click to hear):

"Keep Moving Forward - When 'Accessible' Claims Fall Short" Another piece in the "Keep Moving Forward" campaign. (2018)

"Keep Moving Forward - Thinking Happy Thoughts Doesn't Address Mental Illness" Another piece in the "Keep Moving Forward" campaign. (2018)

"Callum deVillier, Marathon Dancer" Another feature on Lakewood's "Artists and Performers" Mobile Audio Tour. Please note that this short podcast is to be played alongside Mr. deVillier's tombstone, which reads "Marathon Dancer, 3780 Continuous Hours." (2016) 

"Eviction and Community Response in Minneapolis" I pitched, researched, wrote, produced, and conducted interviews for this piece as a reporter for WOBC News. (2012)

"Oberlin Students Participate in Youngstown Demonstration" Another piece for WOBC News. (2012)


Writing.

Academic. Narrative nonfiction. Instructional.

This homepage story, written for Atlas Obscura, tells the little-known—and surprisingly bleak—history of the 1920s/1930s “dance marathon” craze. This article received many hundreds of shares and likes on Atlas Obscura’s Facebook page.

 

This homepage story, written for Atlas Obscura, dives into how Michelin and why Michelin Star chefs spend months isolated from the outside world, and cook delicious food for their crew—on just one shipment per year.

 

I pitched, researched, and wrote this exhibit for Lakewood's 2018 Memorial Day celebration honoring the 100th anniversary of the WWI armistice. The exhibit uses personal stories of individuals buried at Lakewood to explore the social and political realities of WWI-era Minnesota. Exhibit was displayed for the 1,500 guests of Lakewood's Memorial Day celebration, and will be in rotation at local libraries and museums throughout 2018. (Exhibit design by John Henry.)

 

Shortly after I began working for Lakewood Cemetery, I performed all research and writing for their first Black History tour. (Please note that this tour is not formatted for public use; this content is currently available via mobile app.)

 

In this blog post, published by Lakewood Cemetery, I honored both Presidents Day and Black History Month by researching and writing about the African American leaders who influenced former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

 

Other written pieces (click to read):

“Low Power FM Operational Guide (Instructional)” In 2017 I was hired by American Public Media to develop a free statewide conference for Minnesota's recently-licensed Low Power FM radio stations. I conducted all research and outreach, solicited feedback on desired content, secured presenters, and wrote/prepared all 50+ pages of instructional material, which was made available to all participants. (2017)

“American in Wonderland: Defining the Nation in the Early Amusement Parks of Minneapolis/St. Paul” This capstone piece focuses on two early 20th century amusement parks in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and examines the ways in which these parks both challenged and reinforced social norms in the cities. I presented this paper at the 2015 Oberlin College Senior Symposium. (2015)

"Lynchings and Executions: Memorializing Racial Violence in Minnesota" This paper examines two historical instances of racial violence in the state of Minnesota: the 1862 mass execution of 38 Dakota men, and the 1920 lynching of three black men. This paper compares the ways these events are memorialized and are (or are not) incorporated into Minnesota's historical narrative. (2015)

"From Capstone to Curtain" This piece was published by the Oberlin College News Center (via the Office of Communications) to highlight the accomplishments of members of the Oberlin student body. (2015)

"Music for the Masses" Another piece for the Oberlin College News Center. (2015)

"Housing the Dead Among the Living: The Role of the Urban Graveyard in New Orleans, Louisiana" This paper focuses on the historical and contemporary uses of urban graveyards in New Orleans as sites of unique historical memory and community empowerment. I was selected to present this paper at the 2015 Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Conference in New Orleans. (2013)

"Radio NOLA HIV" This Applicant Profile piece, published by Prometheus Radio Project, was designed to help build awareness and support for this New Orleans nonprofit, whose members were applying for an FCC broadcast license. (2013)



 

Photo.

People and their environments.

 

In May 2019, National Geographic UK published a web article about my Death in the Digital Age project, including a gallery of my images. See them here.


Cemeteries.

For the living.

Prior to departing on my 2018-2019 Fulbright - National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, I worked on behalf of Lakewood Cemetery for three years. My work with Lakewood included researching, writing, editing, and producing content for social media, tours, and blog.  I also co-led all event planning and public programming, and assisted with communications and marketing.

Blog

I performed all research, writing, and image sourcing for Lakewood Cemetery's historical blog posts from January 2018 until October 2018. Visit the blog to read about the cemetery's greenhouse history, abolitionists buried at Lakewood, Minneapolis's role as the "singing city," and much more.

Facebook

From September 2015 until October 2018 I managed all social content for Lakewood. This included securing organizational support for the page, starting the page, proposing editorial calendars, researching and writing posts, sharing content, promoting events, and managing ads for this 6,000+ follower page. I also consulted other cemetery organizations on starting and maintaining their social media presence.

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Educational programs

Together with one colleague, I also proposed, planned, oversaw, and executed all public events and educational programming at Lakewood. This included new cemetery events like a 1,200+ person Lantern Lighting Celebration, a walking tour series, a greenhouse tour, a concert series, and more.