Press Releases:

Story-telling workshops open to students and public

English Journalism
February 22, 2019

Almost everyone has the capability to make a video through their smart phones — but how do you transcend the basics and learn to tell a great story with that device in the palm of your hand?

A free workshop, “Tell Better Stories: Documenting Our Lives with Video,” taking place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 23, will give you the basics on storytelling skills with phone-video cameras. Doug Swift, creative director of Wild Iris Video and a visiting assistant professor of English at Denison, will share great information, including composition, understanding light, putting the subject at ease, and the use of interviews. Registration is required. 

The workshop is part of a new series of workshops by the Journalism department, titled “Tell Better Stories.” The free workshops are open to the public on the fourth Saturday of February, March, and April, from 10 a.m. to noon in the NEWORK Space, (14 N Park Place, Newark, Ohio). The series engages three local professionals to lead the stand-alone workshops. The workshops offer a place for the general public to gain skills in video production with smart phones, memoir writing, and active listening. The program is part of a $700,000 grant from Mellon toward embedding “place-based” narrative in Denison’s curriculum.

“The Journalism department at Denison is working hard to help not only our student community but also our greater communities in the Midwest to become better placed-based storytellers. Gaining these skills prepares us to be more empathetic listeners and encourages civil discourse, all important to our democratic society,” says Jack Shuler, director of the Center, author, and associate professor of English at Denison.

“We can all become storytellers. For many folks, this means learning to take good home movies. For other folks, it means documenting the things in our communities that are unfair or unjust, becoming citizen journalists. Sometimes the family stories and public engagement are entwined. What’s important is that we make the time to tell our stories with increasing skill and let them be heard,” says Swift.

The second workshop, on Saturday, March 23, will be led by Newark-based writer Heather Shaw. In “Tell Better Stories: Telling Your Truth: Writing Memoir,” Shaw will discuss the basics of writing about ourselves, including writing about family, writing truthfully from memory, and choosing what to include (and what to leave out) to keep the story moving in the right direction. Participants will come away with practical strategies for choosing a topic, outlining the story, and finishing the first draft. Shaw is a freelance writer and winner of the Award of Excellence from the Columbus Arts Festival.

“These workshops are a place where all members of the community are encouraged to learn and practice skills that will help us tell better stories about ourselves, our families, and our larger community. Whatever your background, if you have a story to tell, these workshops are for you. It’s a welcome space to come and grow,” says Shaw.

The series will conclude with a third workshop on Saturday, April 27, led by Granville-based pastor, mediator and writer Jeff Gill on “Tell Better Stories: Listening Well (For Writers).” He will focus on the importance of active listening, how to quiet competing sounds and voices, writing as a form of listening, and learning the physical, non-verbal and mental processes to listening well in order to tell stories. Gill writes two weekly columns, “Faith Works” for the Newark Advocate and “Notes From My Knapsack” for the Granville Sentinel.

All three workshops are held at 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at NEWORK Space, 14 N Park Pl, Newark, OH and are free and open to the public. Registration is required.

To register, please contact: