This is Ohio, a new podcast of narrative stories about Ohioans living quietly heroic lives, has just been released by The Reporting Project of Denison University. It was created by Doug Swift and Jack Shuler.

“There are so many important stories in our own communities that never get told,” said Shuler.

The title of the podcast is also the title of Shuler’s last book, This Is Ohio, which featured extended narratives about those working on the front lines of the overdose epidemic.

“I wanted to keep working on these kinds of stories about people doing real, meaningful things,” Shuler said. “But I also wanted to broaden the subject matter.”

Swift is a documentary filmmaker who was interested in working just with audio.

“There is a quality of intimacy I experience when I listen to my favorite stories on This American Life or Rumble Strip,” Swift said. “I wanted to work in that direction. It’s really important to me to spend time with folks while they are doing their most meaningful actions.”

Shuler conducts an interview with a subject for the This is Ohio podcast.

Every story in season one of This is Ohio is different in subject matter and tone, but they all feature a clear character. There’s the story of the ballet director leading his 28th production of The Nutcracker and creating meaningful community in the process, and the story of the pastor retiring after 23 years at the helm of a small town congregation, keeping her spirit as alive as ever.

There is the story of the daughter assisting her mom through the phases of Alzheimer’s, and discovering surprising gifts along the way. And the story of two friends walking through the woods in early spring identifying trees by their bark.

Shuler is director of the journalism program at Denison University, and Swift teaches multimedia in the same program. They are both founding members and contributors to The Reporting Project, a rapidly expanding nonprofit news outlet in Licking County.

This Is Ohio can found at the The Reporting Project site, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

There will be a family-friendly launch picnic for This Is Ohio on Thursday, June 13, 2024, 6 p.m. at Geller Park in Heath. Many subjects of the first season of the podcast will be in attendance. Hotdogs, pie and lemonade will be served. Free and open to the public. is the nonprofit news organization of Denison University’s Journalism program and is supported by generous donations from readers. Sign up for The Reporting Project newsletter here.