It has been seven months since I first contacted David Rhoads, president of the Saline Area Historical Society about a possible joint venture, and today I am pleased to have shared with our readers — and listeners — the fruits of our labor.
As part of my work with the Journal Register Co.’s ideaLab, a group of 14 reporters, editors, circulation directors, IT professionals and advertising consultants from the Midwest and East Coast, I’ve been experimenting with technology to improve our storytelling and help move journalism forward in this age of technology.
What I’ve come up with has been a joint effort in partnership with the community.
The idea came over hot drinks on a balmy September day at The Drowsy Parrot in Saline with Michael McVey, a Saline resident and an assistant professor in Eastern Michigan University’s Department of Education. I was telling him about my ideaLab charge and knew he had an interest in podcasting, as he has developed “The Considerate Podcast” series available on iTunes U.
I am not sure whether it was his idea or mine, or we got there together while brainstorming, but we decided a podcast series featuring a walking tour of Saline’s historic buildings would be an interesting project.
The Saline Area Historical Society seemed to be the perfect partners, so I blogged about it here and then Rhoads reached out to me, and we came up with a list of 10 sites worth featuring first.
From October to February, historical society members Wayne Clements and Liza Collins researched seven of the sites and wrote scripts for the podcasts. In early March, McVey and I met with Clements and historical society member Bob Lane at the Rentschler Farm Museum to record the podcasts. I also shot video and took photos to document our work.
Within a week, McVey had edited the recordings, and during the last month I have gathered historic photos from the Saline District Library website and sized them for the web. Photographer Hiroshi Onuma shot current-day photos, which I also sized, while the scripts were being written.
David Veselenak, our new online coordinator and Manchester reporter, created Google maps pinpointing each of the historic sites.
The end result is the Saline Historic Walking Tour podcasting project on our website at www.heritage.com. Under the podcast menu, you will find audio of either Clements or Lane reading the history of the Union School, Wallace Block, Rentschler Farm Museum, Davenport-Curtiss mansion, town founder Orange Risdon’s home, Saline Railroad and Depot and Union Block.
The old and current-day photos take readers on a visual tour of the sites, and the locator maps help readers easily identify where these buildings are located.
We plan to add to this series and we would like to expand into the surrounding communities. Anyone interested in helping is encouraged to reach out.
I hope everyone enjoys it. I welcome comments. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or post a note on our Facebook page.