University News

New Denison podcast celebrates the lives of ordinary Ohioans

June 26, 2024

Ohioians living quietly heroic lives tell their stories in a compelling new podcast from Denison University’s The Reporting Project.

This is Ohio, created by Doug Swift and Jack Shuler, explores the lives of “real people doing real, meaningful things,” said Shuler, director of Denison’s journalism program.

“There are so many important stories in our own communities that never get told,” said Shuler, whose latest book — about those working on the front lines of the overdose epidemic — shares a title with the podcast.

Each episode of This is Ohio is unique but features a clear character: a ballet director leading his 28th production of The Nutcracker. A pastor retiring after 23 years at the helm of a small-town congregation. A daughter caring for her mom through the struggles and illuminations of Alzheimer’s. Two friends walking through the woods in early spring, identifying trees by their bark.

Shuler and Swift, a visiting assistant professor at Denison, are both founding members and contributors to The Reporting Project, a rapidly expanding nonprofit news outlet in Licking County.

Swift, a documentary filmmaker, was drawn to the medium of audio, inspired by the intimacy of storytelling podcasts.

“I wanted to work in that direction,” Swift said. “It’s really important to me to spend time with folks while they are doing their most meaningful actions.”

This Is Ohio can be found at the The Reporting Project site, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Multimedia versions of the stories can be found at

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