The media usually covers the story. But the media — or rather, the ever-changing face of the media in this digital era — was the story at a recent day-long workshop at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media.
The June 9 event, organized and co-sponsored by the West Virginia Community Development Hub, brought together nearly 200 people to the Media Innovation Center. The ostensible topic was “New Story: Changing the Narrative in West Virginia.”
But the discussion ranged far afield. Does a crop of new positive-themed West Virginia web publications foretell a new direction for community-powered media? Can long-form, in-depth stories survive in the bite-size, short attention span era of the digital age? How can the stories of rural life outside central cities get better play?
And just what kinds of stories should media, in all their many multimedia forms these days, be telling about West Virginia?
“Many of you come from that industry and know we’ve got a few problems as well as some opportunities in this evolving digital era — experimenting in new forms of storytelling and new forms of audience engagement,” said Maryanne Reed, dean of the college.
Like it or not, the state’s media landscape is evolving rapidly, said Jake Lynch, director of network communications for the West Virginia Community Development Hub. “We can either be passive citizens, or we can find a way to be engaged in that.”
Jason Koegler is co-founder of weelunk.com, a Wheeling-oriented web publication devoted to — as it says on its “About” page — “making Wheeling a great place to live and work. As a website, our role is to provide people with an honest accounting of what’s current, and the tools, connections, and information they need to shape future happenings.”
In a panel discussion, Koegler, a 1993 Wheeling High School graduate who moved back to Wheeling from California in 2007, said he felt the traditional media were not covering many of the more positive things going on in the city and region…
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