Journalism at Denison University hosted its fourth annual Podcast-a-thon with a twist. New to the competition this year was the Community Participant category which welcomes budding audio storytellers in the greater Denison and Licking County community to participate. Out of five submissions outside of the participating classes, Jingyue (Melissa) Wu ‘22 won the Community Participant category for her story of a dog rescue shelter in China. Jack Reaney took both the Buzzy Grand Champion trophy as well as the People’s Choice Award for “Your Cup.”

This year’s Podcast-a-thon stories ranged in topics from questioning the sustainability of Solo cups, to the impact of land-use changes on the tick population. The event engaged more than 140 students and faculty from seven classes across disciplines representing English, Journalism, Environmental Studies, Communication, Global Health, Biology, and Anthropology & Sociology.

Students were trained on Adobe Audition by Educational Technology Services, offered one-on-one critique sessions with audio professional mentors. and created audio stories to compete for prizes. Winning stories were chosen at the final listening party event ”Pod-a-palooza” on March 4, 2022, emcee’d and judged by NPR audio journalist Clare Roth.

As part of the effort, WYSO audio producer Jocelyn Robinson visited campus in February to offer her expertise on “What Makes a Good Audio Story?”

Wu says of her experience, “Creating an audio story for the competition helped me learn how to tell better stories. I got interested in audio storytelling, because I am a fan of radio and podcasts. I like the way sound can bring the message to the audience without the visual images.”

Listen to five winning, student-created audio stories, representing a variety of course disciplines and assignments.

Buzzy Grand Champion & People’s Choice Award | “Your Cup” by Jack Reaney ’22 for Doug Swift’s Journalism/Multimedia Storytelling course
Music production by Dawson Kimbell ‘25
We often think carefully about what we drink, but we don’t always think about what we drink from. This story dares us to begin that process.

Honorable Mention | “Taste of Mom” by Yuxuan Huang ‘24
for Yen Loh’s English/Asian American Literature course
A culinary tour of a childhood takes the listener through the steps of a complicated recipe and the legacy of food in a mother-daughter relationship.

Honorable Mention | “Tick Tick BOOM! by Julia Piper ‘23, Abigail Hano ‘24, and Lila Kiron ‘22
for Tom Henshaw’s Environmental Studies/Planetary Health course
A woman experiencing mysterious symptoms searches for answers as she navigates college for the first time. This piece explores what ecological changes can mean not just for native species but for the health of humans.

Honorable Mention | “The Forgotten by Phoebe Martin ‘24, Mallory Hallwirth ‘24, and Patrick Lucey ‘24
for Karen Powell Sears’ Anthropology and Sociology/Sex & Gender in Society course
When we discuss the queer community, five letters often come to mind: L G B T and Q. But other identities ache for, and deserve, representation as well.

Community Participant Winner | “My Experience with Animal Rescue by Jingyue (Melissa) Wu ‘22
as independent work, not a class assignment
How is a dog shelter in China different than a dog shelter in the United States? It’s going to take some courage and some international collaboration to find out. Wu has the story.

This campus event was funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon “Writing in Place” initiative and a gift by alumna Sue Douthit O’Donnell, ‘67.

May 17, 2022