Senior, College of Communication
Minors: Japanese, Archaeology
Thesis Director: Amy Merrick, Department of Journalism
Faculty Reader: Jason Martin, Department of Journalism
Bio: Hailing from Central Illinois, the topic of flooding along the Mississippi River and its effects on river communities has always been of great interest to Justin. He previously served as a contributor and the event coordinator for 14 East magazine and is currently a show host at Radio DePaul. In 2021, he was the finalist for both Best Use of Multimedia and Online News Writing at the SPJ Region 5 Mark of Excellence Awards.
Abstract: Residents of Alton, Illinois grapple with the ravages of mother nature and a post-industrial America to stay afloat through creative adaptation and perseverance. This piece explores how the Mississippi River floods of 1973, 1993 and 2019 battered the city and continue to pose physical, economic and emotional threats to those who call Alton home through newspaper archives, interviews with local businesses and statements from politicians. Their stories paint the Mississippi River as the giver of Alton’s industrial success but also as a constant threat to the ability of Alton commerce to carry on during times of flooding.