WWII journal inspiration for prof

Camille Botello, Staff writer

After his wife wrote a memoir based on her father’s World War II journal, a Linfield professor created a multimedia rendition of the story.

Mass communication associate professor Michael Huntsberger presented his project—a website that includes videos, photos of characters in the story—on Wednesday in Fred Meyer Lounge.

His wife, Karen Berkey Huntsberger, recovered her father’s journal from his time serving as a combat medic in World War II after his death in 1991. She also found old letters and pictures later when her mother died in 2008.

Berkey Huntsberger transcribed the journal and found records about other soldiers her father worked alongside. She used all of this information to publish her memoir “Waiting for Peace: The Journals and Correspondence of a World War II Combat Medic.”

Huntsberger knew he wanted to create a project from his wife’s book, but at first he didn’t know how.

“It really didn’t hit me that this was a project I could work with until Karen started to speaking to clubs about her book,” he said. “I started to realize—there’s another project here. There was an opportunity to bring Richard’s story to life in a different medium.”

Huntsberger began compiling documents, photos and video from his father-in-law’s archives and decided to create a documentary. He hired student web developers and researchers to help him start the project, but he was still unsure about the medium he was going to use.

“It was a privilege to work with Dr. H throughout the school year. My favorite memory from the project was searching through University of Oregon’s microfilm collection for newspaper headlines,” said senior Matt Totaro, one of the student researchers.

Senior Grey Patterson was the student web designer for the project. “I’ve done a little bit of multimedia stuff like that before, just because I wanted to try it out, but I’d never done anything as large-scale as ‘Waiting for Peace,’” he said.

“I’m pouring over the book, trying to figure out ‘what do we put in?’ and ‘what do we leave out?’ and that’s when it started to dawn on me that the primary medium for this story was going to be text,” Huntsberger said.

Although he studied journalism, Huntsberger now mainly works with video, audio and photography. He said the possibility of telling stories without text is concerning.

“As a historian, this possibility actually really frightens me because language has historically conveyed the most personal, and the most nuanced, and the most accurate accounts of the human endeavor and of human condition over thousands of years.”

With this in mind, he created a website to tell his father-in-law’s story.