Rebecca Darling, a senior in the Patton College of Education, participated in WOUB's Perspectives series to share her experiences in living with the condition of albinism.
WOUB’s Perspectives examines hard issues through a local lens
By Erin Roberts
ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 5, 2014)—Perspectives, a WOUB Public Media series that started as a conversation-style show dealing with global issues has morphed into a cinematic, mostly monologue-based web series highlighting world problems, LGBT issues, disability and inclusion, sexual assault and more in an emotional, compelling way.
“There’s so much potential here in the Athens community because of the university,” said Atish Baidya, the digital content editor who reimagined the series. “The idea was to tap into the resources of the international community and the experts at Ohio University to examine issues and current events exploring broader, underlying issues. As a journalist, those are the types of conversations I like and want to see, especially as a public broadcast journalist.”
Baidya, who joined the staff of WOUB in October 2012 and is also enrolled at Ohio University as a candidate for the Communication and Development Studies master’s degree, says he aims to give a voice to those not typically represented in mainstream media and or only represented in stereotypical ways. He said OHIO alumnus and WOUB Digital Content Editor Grant Burkhardt, who recently left WOUB, was helpful in conceptualizing the new direction of the web series.
“Grant was charged with expanding our digital offerings and was the creative catalyst for me. He opened opportunities for me as a storyteller to produce these pieces,” Baidya said of the seven installments he’s produced since fall of 2013.
“My approach is to just have a conversation and make sure my subjects feel safe and secure in telling their own story,” Baidya said. “When I edit, I don’t want to shape the story. I want it to accurately reflect their being and everything about the time we spent together.”
Among those Baidya has featured through the series is Rebecca Darling, a senior in the Patton College of Education with moderate/intensive educational needs due to albinism.
Darling says she participated in the series in an effort to educate others about the condition.
“I have albinism, and, generally, when people first see me, they stare and poke fun about my extremely white hair and skin,” Darling said. “Some even make comments such as ‘get a tan’… “
Darling suffers from visual impairment because of the condition, but excels in spite of it.
“The biggest importance for me with this series is just letting everyone know that I am like everyone else and can accomplish anything I set my mind too,” she said. “I am a regular person like everyone else.”
And that’s just what Baidya hopes others take from the series.
“I want people to see it from their perspective,” he said. “We’re all human. The overall idea behind this series is (to expose) how it feels to marginalized.”
Tom Hodson, director and general manager of WOUB, says this type of content is important for WOUB because of its shift to “digital first.”
“WOUB is a digital-first media entity,” Hodson said. “We are no longer just television or radio. Instead we produce content for our web followers who receive stories from us via mobile, tablets and desktops. We produce stories for multiple audiences.”
Baidya hopes to produce series videos on a more regular basis and also hopes to expand the series outside the university and local community.
“Everyone has that unique element,” he said. “I want a space to tell these stories. Our experiences are different, but the feelings are universal. If we could connect those two, we’d treat each other differently and the world would be a better place.”