Project Notes

October 2017

October 11, 2017 Sam Quinones, author of Dreamland, participated in several campus and community forums in the City of Athens and in Nelsonville. Students in #JOUR4530 provided live blogging at several events. I participated in the Nelsonville community forum at Nelsonville High School. The panel indicated that the rural geographies of SE Ohio are challenging, insofar as providing care and comprehensive, integrated services for those addicted to opioids. Lack of local transportation options compounds getting access to health care. Insurance companies are generous in providing bus vouchers, when no rural routes exist. The solution to solving the opioid epidemic is community, says Quinones. Drug addiction is isolating and lives in silences and distance. Quinones advocates local action and solutions to solving the problem first of isolation, then addiction will follow. FORUM NOTES AVAILABLE HERE

September 2017

This week, Your Voice Ohio to launch opioid initiative in NE Ohio and Central Ohio geographies, in partnership with local media partners including print and broadcast media. The collaborative, led by former managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal Doug Oplinger, will engage Ohioans in facing the biggest health crisis in the state.

Headed to Washington, DC next week to Democracy Fund to meet with other grantees in the funding cycle and to discuss our strategies for engaging local residents.

Innovation Center: Met with Jen Simon, Regional Executive Director of the Innovation Center to discuss upcoming programming, community overlap in agenda or value-added to existing asset-based explorations.

Rural Action:
Media Deserts Dashboard: The Media Deserts Project has been completing a grant to provide state-level data, Dr. Gaurav Sinha, Geography and Elkan Kim, Voinovich School have built a web-based dashboard based on our data analysis of the 2016 quarterly data. The interface will allow users to identify county, ZIP Code and state data on the media and communication ecosystem. Maps of Southeastern Ohio will inform geographies in which the SE Ohio project will operate.

Digital Ethnography: Students building digital ethnographies of county/city level data of more than 20 SE Ohio/Appalachian Ohio counties, including demographic data, Google Earth imagery and narratives, social media artifacts and current communications/media.

Community Dashboards: Using the digital ethnographic work, students are creating spreadsheets and social media management dashboards and monitoring systems to conduct remote monitoring of SE Ohio counties.

September 25, 2017
"Media Seeds Project" launches in SE Ohio with $150,00 grant from the Jefferson Center and its Your Voice Ohio project and the Democracy Fund. Jefferson Center announces additional $75,000 for work in Ohio.


August 2017

In August, I made contact with several people in outreach:
Jen Simon, Innovation Center: Focus on narrowing geographies in SE Ohio. Discussed overlapping activities of Ohio University’s Innovation Center and its outreach efforts.

West Virginia University
  • Maryanne Reed, Dean, Reed School of Media
  • Dana Coester, Media Innovation Center
Invitation to meet with Dana at WVU to discuss and meet partners in the 100 Days Project. The project was funded by Democracy Fund to bring underrepresented rural voices in West Virginia to the forefront of national storytelling. Funding coincided with the election process and the goal was to understand the neglected rural populations by bringing in reporting talent to tell more authentic stories. From that work, Dana has indicated that she would like to work with JTM more closely in SE Ohio, so that she might look at a model for the next steps for the 100 Days Project. We agreed to meet in West Virginia to meet other partners.

Fiona Morgan, Free Press
With JTM Board Member Mike Green, explored work of Free Press. Fiona is an Elevate Engagement attendee and completed JTM's train the trainer dialogic practices workshop in January 2017.

Strategic Social Media Fall 2017 Classes
I am teaching two sections of this course this fall. Traditionally, this course has been taught as a strategic marketing and commercial uses of social media for branding (Spring 2017). However, I created two themes: a commercial marketing focus and a journalism focus. The Media Deserts Project received funding from Duke University to provide state-level maps. The students will be diving one layer deeper for the Media Deserts Project. The students will monitor ZIP CODES in geographies across SE Ohio using Banjo, a social media monitoring and sourcing tool. Banjo uses social stream API and connection to open government data like police and fire calls and other safety data like stoplight cameras. Students will be using the monitoring to remotely listen and create an ethnographic profile of the communities using digital artifacts. The students will also visit selected geographies to do physical work in the communities, observing such regional functions as farmer’s markets, civic meetings or other existing community events.

Linkage to Existing Media
With external outreach limited, I built deeper course developments, creating a plan for using student content on public radio produced at Ohio University’s WOUB radio stations reaching 22 counties in SE Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Worked with Allison Hunter, WOUB News Director, to discuss news coverage via radio and TV in SE Ohio geographies.

July 2017

Learned about Your Voice Ohio initiatives from Doug Oplinger, former managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio. He is the Ohio project lead for Your Voice Ohio.

Mapped opioid deaths to geographies, overlaying deaths on Media Deserts Project data. Examined intersection of deaths and locales lacking access to daily, local news and information.
SE Ohio Reach and Overdoses_no-legend.jpg

Met with Dr. Laura Black, Associate Professor, School of Communication Studies, Ohio University. Laura and I met with Susan Urano, executive director of the Athens Foundation, regarding upcoming initiatives in surrounding geographies and potential overlapping geographies. Dr. Black provided background on evaluation styles she employs and details on her regional work in building dialogic practitioners.

For more information on the Media Seeds Project in SE Ohio, contact Dr. Michelle Ferrier,