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MDIA Associate Professor Brian Plow partners with WOUB Public Media on high school documentary film project

In his 11 years at the Scripps College of Communication, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Studies (MDIA) Brian Plow has become known for his ability to creatively inspire undergraduate students in the areas of documentary film and narrative production. But what may be lesser known is that Plow is also using his talents and passion to teach documentary storytelling to high school students around the region in partnership with WOUB Public Media. Plow has been working as part of the team on WOUB’s "Our Ohio "project for the last two years.

"Our Ohio" began in 2020 and challenges high school students to learn about and explore independent documentary film, Appalachian cultural identity, media literacy and multimedia storytelling. Throughout the course of the school year, students work with a WOUB news reporter and documentary filmmaker, and Plow to learn how to create and submit their own short documentary films. The project gives young people the resources necessary to tell their own story and challenges them to think more deeply about what they want to say and the most effective way to say it.

“I love how WOUB focuses on working with underserved school districts in this project and gives these students this unique opportunity,” said Plow. “These districts typically don’t have the resources to teach technology and media in this way and anything I can do to increase capacity and teacher agency to teach media in this region, I want to do that.”

Plow thinks it is truly important to help young people in Appalachian Ohio develop strong storytelling skills and be able to utilize media as a powerful tool and agent for change.

“Storytelling literacy is so important,” said Plow. “I believe that storytelling is the most powerful force on the planet. When someone understands how a story is put together, it becomes empowering for that person. They will know when they consume media what’s authentic and what might be manufactured. They can also turn around and tell their own story and the story of their community in an authentic way. I feel like this is helping to empower people in communities that are sometimes left behind in the state of Ohio.”

Films created during the WOUB 2021-22 and 22-23 "Our Ohio" project will be shown during the upcoming Athens International Film and Video Festival (AIFVF). The films will be shown at The Athena Cinema on Sunday, April 14 at 3 p.m. (Find ticket information here:

Plow’s creative work has been exhibited in festivals throughout North America and Europe, national/international conferences and university programs, as well as television markets and PBS affiliates in the Mid-Atlantic region. He will be at the AIFVF event to introduce the "Our Ohio" films and explain the importance of the stories to the audience.

“Ohio University and Scripps College have a responsibility to support this region and they both do a good job, but WOUB does an amazing job engaging and supporting the region,” said Plow. “For me, it’s exciting to be able to go out into the community and be that ambassador. What really makes it worthwhile is to partner with WOUB because of all the possibilities that are built into the outreach infrastructure already there. The WOUB brand opens doors and provides credibility and collaborating with WOUB staff is rewarding. For those students, when they make the work, WOUB has a platform for sharing it with the region. It is so powerful for young people in the community to be able to tell their stories in this way.”

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April 8, 2024
Cheri Russo