While OU is known for its gorgeous campus, the beauty in Athens County isn’t confined to our college town. Attractions such as Strouds Run State Park, the Baileys Trail System and more offer opportunities to get out of one’s dorm room and into the scenic beauty that Athens has to offer.
But we also know it can be difficult for some individuals to explore Athens County and beyond. And, as we reported in our first annual edition of Beyond the Bubble, news deserts and a lack of broadband can make it even more difficult to obtain news in the area for both students and residents. Our Beyond the Bubble issue serves as a way to showcase important stories throughout the region of Southeast Ohio and expand upon our normal area of coverage.
Last year, because of the pandemic, our Beyond the Bubble issue was broadened to include reporters’ hometowns, as many on The Post’s staff worked from home. Now, with all of our staff back on campus, we’ve refocused this special issue to feature stories across Appalachian Ohio.
The Appalachian Regional Commission, or ARC, serves 32 counties throughout Ohio, including Athens and other neighboring counties. Some of those counties, including Fairfield, Muskingum and Hocking, are featured in our Beyond the Bubble content.
In this year’s edition of Beyond the Bubble, you can read about an alpaca farm in Zanesville, the lineup for the 37th annual Lancaster Festival, commentary on the Ohio redistricting process and more. We hope these stories encourage students and readers to get out of the “bubble” of Uptown Athens and seek out information and experiences they wouldn’t normally have on our college campus.
Too often, Appalachia is reduced to stereotypes in the meager stories national outlets write about the region. The people of Appalachia deserve more than what is given to them in parachute journalism, and their stories should be celebrated — and not just when a hometown hero has made it big or a pivotal election is taking place. To every OU student, I encourage you: Before you graduate or leave Athens for the summer, don’t just read one of our Beyond the Bubble stories to learn more about this region. Truly get out of the bubble and take in the splendor of Southeast Ohio while you still can.
Abby Miller is a senior studying journalism and political science at Ohio University and the editor-in-chief of The Post. Have questions? Email Abby at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @abblawrence.