Between Coasts: Stories from the flyover

Ohio Landscape

Narrative Journalism at Denison University is dedicated to promoting and practicing journalism that highlights places often neglected in national media conversations. A framework of programs is designed to offer support to journalists working in a variety of mediums in order to maximize the reach of their audience.

Narrative Journalism at Denison is supported through funding by Sue O’Donnell, the Mellon Foundation, and Denison University. We work to:

  • Train Denison students to become empathetic storytellers in both their campus community and the surrounding area, while grounding their training in core tenets of journalistic ethics and practices.
  • Increase community relationships between Denison and Licking County municipalities and beyond. In addition to partnering with local, state, and national organizations, we work to make our students informed members of the communities beyond campus by immersing them in long-form projects that require forethought, sensitivity, and personal engagement.
  • Promote the liberal arts through nonfiction storytelling—being able to engage, understand, and synthesize complex viewpoints from various backgrounds of the people residing in smaller communities in Central Ohio.
  • Become a hub to halt the demise of traditional local journalism outlets by offering displaced journalists, as well as freelancers, a working home to do their work.

In March of 2018, The Mellon Foundation provided a grant of $700,000 for Denison’s “Writing in Place” initiative, which supports the work of Narrative Journalism at Denison.

“Writing in Place” brings the practice of narrative writing to classrooms across campus. Assignments send students into the community, linking classroom learning with lived experience and inspiring them to think critically and find common ground. Denison students gather data, make hands-on observations, interview and survey individuals and groups, as they write about a wide range of topics spanning the disciplines.

The “Writing in Place” initiative builds on Denison’s curricular concentration in Narrative Journalism, a program that teaches students to combine literary storytelling with in-depth, fact-based research. The Narrative Journalism concentration is designed for students from all majors who want a structured opportunity for hands-on experience along with exposure to potential career paths — from science writing to writing that spotlights the public humanities.

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