Surprisingly, my favorite story also happens to be one of my first.
Truth be told, it’s not my favorite story because of the writing. Instead, the story is one of my favorites because of what it always reminds me of: the world outside of an article.
Last October, I sat down and interviewed Matt Morris, an Ohio University alumnus and the liaison for Media Seeds Group. Media Seeds Group is the parent company of ZipIt News, which helps provide local news in parts of Southeast Ohio where broadband is limited. Matt described utilizing snail mail to reach older demographics. He’s also building an online community for residents to connect.
Media Seeds was started by a former OU professor. There is a unique dichotomy in Athens because of Ohio University: we have a sea of information and technology in a region that is historically lacking in those facets.
Athens is unlike any place I’ve ever been, and I think that most students would agree on the quirkiness of our college town. But what Athens would be like without Ohio University is difficult to imagine. A media effort spearheaded by those who know the area best trying to make a difference in information accessibility in the region is special.
When you don’t always hear stories like Matt’s, it’s easy to take Athens and its access to information for granted. I was a complete stranger to the Athens area a year ago. Reporting on this story reminded me that, as journalists, we need to embed ourselves and learn all about the places we report on, not just their people.
Over the summer, I had an internship at a media start-up in Columbus. I talked to people from neighborhoods all throughout the city, and saw firsthand the disparities between the residents’ backgrounds, wealth and relationships to city officials. Even places that seem homogeneous have more stories lying beneath the surface. It’s just a matter of seeking them out and interacting with the area on a deeper level.
Throughout college, everyone finds their people and place of belonging. But as both a student and a journalist, I don’t just want to find my place in the people. I want to find my place in the cities and experiences that reporting takes me. I hope that I can truly report on the issues that matter in their fullest, richest context.
Abby Miller is a sophomore studying journalism and political science at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What are your thoughts? Tell Abby by tweeting her at @abblawrence.