Meadville Tribune

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March 6, 2014

The Story Next Door project part of two-day Allegheny College journalism conference

MEADVILLE — Allegheny College students will team up with professional journalists and other students from around the country to initiate the sunrise to sunset project, a hands-on multimedia experiment documenting the Meadville area, as part of the upcoming two-day journalism conference, The Story Next Door.

The conference, organized mainly by Allegheny’s Multimedia Journalism class, involves students reaching out to community members to tell local stories through print, photography and other media to be compiled for conference presentation and future publication in The Campus, Allegheny’s student newspaper.

Three Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalists and many other professionals are expected to accompany students as they travel around the community to offer guidance as well as present their own materials during scheduled seminars.

“We’re basically going to capture a day in the life of Meadville,” said Meghan Hayman, Allegheny journalism student. “It’s more interactive than last year’s conference.”

The conference is also made more inclusive with the involvement of Ohio University students and additional visiting professionals.

“Together we’ll bridge the campus and community and partner journalists who’ve excelled in their field with students who aspire to their profession,” said Cheryl Hatch, visiting assistant professor of journalism in the public interest at Allegheny. “We will learn from one another, share stories and create a portrait of Meadville through multiple voices and visions.”

Students expect to meet local residents, business owners and more throughout the day on Friday to engage in a variety of topics, from the town’s history to individual profiles and whatever else the students should find interesting.

“It’s going to be really collaborative,” Allegheny student Caitie McMekin said. “We’ll be getting hands-on experience from people who’ve been doing this for years, a professional perspective. It’ll also open the way for future students to experience this.”

Hatch’s students also expressed their excitement to collaborate with the Ohio U students to brainstorm ideas and create a newsroom atmosphere where they will edit stories and work under a deadline.

“I love the title,” said Michael S. Williamson, acclaimed photographer for The Washington Post, who will speak at the conference and offer guidance to students. “So many young photographers think they have to go to some foreign or exotic place and they walk right past the barber or the lady who built an empire of daycare centers.”

He plans to show students, and community members by proximity, the stories which can be told right in their backyards through the sunrise to sunset project, as well as teach students how to engage community members and get them comfortable enough to share their stories.

“The idea of community journalism is more important now than ever,” said Ben Slote, assistant dean and professor of English at Allegheny College. “I’m glad the students can cultivate that significance and I’m excited to see what they’re able to come up with. I hope the community comes and checks it out.”

The sunrise to sunset project takes place all day Friday with the final products scheduled for presentation by Allegheny College and Ohio University students Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Between those times, the conference will feature presentations by Pulitzer Prize-winners Richard Murphy, 1971 Allegheny alumnus; Preston Gannaway, independent documentary photographer; and Williamson.

Other visiting journalists expected to work alongside students include Josh Birnbaum and Stan Alost, associate professors in the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University and Nicole Fruge, deputy director of photography at the San Francisco Chronicle.


The Story Next Door is Friday and Saturday at the Vukovich Center for the Arts on the Allegheny College campus.


All day — "The Story Next Door," a sunrise to sunset multimedia documentary project of Meadville

7 p.m. — “The Adventures of an Arctic Gator: 30 Years of Alaskan Photojournalism,” presented by Richard Murphy, 1971 Allegheny alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer


10:30 a.m. — “Putting the I in Genuine,” presented by Preston Gannaway, Pulitzer Prize-winning independent documentary photographer

2 p.m. — “Only Visiting this Planet,” presented by Michael S. Williamson, Pulitzer Prize-winning staff photographer for The Washington Post

7:30 p.m. — “The Story Next Door,” presented by Allegheny College and Ohio University students

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