In July 2018, the Richland Source teamed up with Interlocal a Mansfield-based nonprofit after learning that the New York Times Student Journeys program was interested in making a Richland County stop on its “D.C. to Detroit: Politics and Divisions, National and Local” tour.
Determined to design an event beneficial to local students too, three Richland Source staff members and a representative from Interlocal designed and led a half-day program, called “Student Intersections,” where Richland-area and visiting high school students of similar ages could learn about each other communities and start meaningful conversations about the Rust Belt, the changing economy, how identity relates to place and what young people can do to create change.
This event seemed especially fitting for the Richland Source this year because half of the newsroom is currently working on a year-long project called Rising from Rust, where reporters look at how Mansfield and other legacy Rust Belt cities are moving past their unwanted reputations and changing for the future.
The day started at 11 a.m. with activities designed to help the approximately 40 students find similarities between themselves. Richland Source members were invited to join in and help to facilitate the conversation. The purpose was to further engage with our audience.
Later, three small group sessions led by Mansfield area leaders dove deeper into topics concerning Richland County rust belt legacy. The sessions were structured to be half presentation, half discussion. The day ended with a walking tour of downtown Mansfield.