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Newsline: 'Kansas -- In the Heart of Tornado Alley'
Friday, July 27, 2012 1:30 PM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs.

If you have additional questions for Jay Price after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-7792 or jay.price@wichita.edu.

Background:
Whatever you call it — twister, tornado, vortex or cyclone —these catastrophic events have shaped lives in the Sunflower State for generations. That, in part, was the inspiration for two Wichita State University faculty and three graduate students to co-author the photo-based, local history book "Kansas – In the Heart of Tornado Alley." Today's Newsline will feature comments by one of the co-authors, Jay Price, director of the public history program at Wichita State.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: While other states receive a share of tornadoes, Kansas seems to embrace, or has been forced to embrace, the twister as one of its most powerful symbols, according to Jay Price, director of the public history program at Wichita State University and co-author of the book "Kansas — In the Heart of Tornado Alley."

Price: "Unlike hurricanes, who are named and are talked about almost as if they're people that make conscious decisions, we tend to think about tornadoes more akin to wild animals in the sense that we watch them from a distance, hopefully a safe distance, and keep out of their way."

Announcer: According to Price, tornadoes are inherently unpredictable, and we've been lulled into a sense of security that we can now understand the phenomenon thanks to the radar and all the technology out there. And he said there's still a lot that we don't know. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Price explains the inspiration for the book. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "that of Kansas."

Price: "The inspiration for the book came about in the wake of the 2007 Greensburg tornado. And in the conversation with Arcadia Publishing, the decision was to look at Kansas as a whole, which was a good idea because if ever there was a state associated with tornadoes, it is that of Kansas."

Sound bite #2
Price explains the difficulty in producing a book on tornadoes. The sound bite is 28 seconds and the outcue is "a little repetitious."

Price: "The challenge was doing a photo history related toward tornadoes. Those are the types of photos that are available. Prior to really more recent innovations of camera technology and availability, the photos one had were of the destruction after an event. And after a while, photos of destruction and destruction and destruction can get a little repetitious."

Sound bite #3
Price compares tornadoes to the sinking of the Titanic. The sound bite is 28 seconds and the outcue is "because of it."

Price: "When we look at the sinking of the Titanic, there's a lot of interest in the technical aspects of it — how did it break up, and how did it land on the seabed and so forth? And sometimes we get so focused on the technology side, that we forget the human story. And in some ways, the study of tornadoes has become that as well. We become so interested in the dynamics of the storm formation and even the destruction they cause, that we forget the lives that are disrupted because of it."

Sound bite #4
Price says tornadoes are part of the Kansas DNA. The sound bite is 9 seconds and the outcue is "the state DNA."

Price: "Even if someone has never seen a funnel cloud, there's something about tornadoes that's in the state DNA."

Sound bite #5
Price talks about some of the freakiness of tornadoes. The sound bite is 15 seconds and the outcue is "in a fishbowl untouched."

Price: "The freakiness of tornadoes and tornadic destruction I think contributes to some of the interest in the phenomena. A tornado can devastate a house, but can leave a goldfish in a fishbowl untouched."

Sound bite #6
Price says there's still a lot we don't know about tornadoes. The sound bite is 25 seconds and the outcue is "should be doing."

Price: "Tornadoes are inherently unpredictable, and we've been lulled into a sense of security that we can now understand the phenomenon thanks to the radar and all the technology out there. But there's still an awful lot that we don't know, and that's why going out to chase tornadoes is exceptionally dangerous and is not something that the ordinary person should be doing."

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Contact: Jay Price, (316) 978-7792 or jay.price@wichita.edu.