C41. Katz, J.E. & Rice, R.E. (2003). The telephone as a medium of faith, hope, terror, and redemption: America, September 11. In M. K. Noll (Ed.), Crisis communications: Lessons from September 11 (pp. 83-97.) NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.  [Reprinted in J. Katz (2006), Magic in the air: Mobile communication and the transformation of social life (pp. 103-111).  New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Press. Earlier version: Prometheus, 20(3), 247-253].

This article explores how ordinary people used telephone technology during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the USA.  Personal emergency communication is heavily imbued with emotional meaning.  These messages address major life problems and values, such as leaving final messages and expressing love and concern, sometimes requiring extreme efforts.  They also show that formal technical characteristics of media, and boundaries across media, are not particularly salient to people who have pressing personal and social communication needs.

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