Columbus Neighborhoods is a multi-platform project that has included 12 one-hour historical/culture documentaries over six years. It is now a magazine type weekly primetime series with a robust digital presence. The project has great local recognition and is now partnering with WOSU’s public radio news operation on a series about Vietnam vets and another about the wealth disparity in Columbus. The video segments are evolving from pure history to history as context for serious local issues. The project just completed its 7th year of existence. It started as a way to celebrate the rich diversity and history of our neighborhoods in Columbus.
The new Columbus Neighborhoods magazine show has completed its first year in 2016-17 telling 111 stories of community, emphasizing our diversity – Nepalis, Muslims, Somalis – and how they have developed their own sense of community. We have partnered with over 20 local organizations to tell these and other stories. The focus is especially on those neighborhoods that remain under the radar, but are developing unique resources and serving as models. The Reeb Center on the south side of Columbus in an impoverished neighborhoods is a place of hope – providing job training, a safe place for teens, a pay as you can restaurant, and social and rehab services. A kind of one stop shop in a renovated 1910 elementary school. We tell those stories and personal pieces like that of a young, black pre-teen entrepreneur who started Tiger Mushroom Farms.
This online video has had over 270,000 views. The educational study guides created in collaboration with the video segments have been downloaded across Ohio, but also by teachers in Michigan, New York and other states. These focus on providing additional resources for topics like urban renewal (the interstate system comes to town) and 1950s/60s boomer population boom. The instructional learning objects won a national NETA award. The umbrella for “Columbus Neighborhoods” has now grown to public forums about community issues and a more journalistic focus.
This fall, the project collaborates with the news team at 89.7 NPR News and the WOSU digital team to focus on the fact that in Columbus, one of the fastest growing Midwest cities, the city ranks as the second most economically segregated city in the country. This has a history of its own to be covered by the producers of the Neighborhoods series. The plans for the spring of 2018 is to look at the issues facing rural Ohio towns – from job loss to opioid addiction. This is a valued brand of WOSU Public Media that continues to grow and evolve as a place for thoughtful cultural, historical, and topical programming.