Staying Afloat: The Future of Funding for Local Journalism

Amidst severe crises, the world of journalism has changed—for better and for worse. There are struggles with aging organizational models and, even more so, in the fundamental role of news in an ever-changing world. The Local Journalism Project is an investigation of the current state of local journalism, with a focus on the Midwest, exploring causes of decline and possibilities for restoration & innovation.

The Politics of Midwestern Identity & Racial Divides

As protests and unrest continue, Midstory considers the Midwestern identity and the role the region has historically played in civil rights progress.

How Wisconsin Ginseng Became a Globally Coveted Commodity

Wisconsin is the number one producer of ginseng in the U.S. with ginseng products that are coveted nationally and internationally. The healing herb highlights the unique commercial and cultural interconnectedness of Asian communities across the globe with communities in the rural Midwest.

Bollywood, Hollywood and the Globalization of Socially-conscious Film: A Review of 3 Idiots

Amidst ever-increasing globalization, American audiences are slowly beginning to recognize international film industries, as evidenced by South Korea’s Parasite (2019) being the first non-English-language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. As production companies pull rights for their content to start their own streaming services, platforms like Amazon Prime Video have found competitive avenues through hosting international films and television (think K-drama and European crime shows), opening up accessibility to global film industries.

Mobility in Crisis, Part I: Public Health, Transit and Investment

What does transportation look like from here? In the first installment in a series examining the future of public transit post-COVID-19, Midstory Fellow Stefan Binion talks with Stu Nicholson, Executive Director of All Aboard Ohio!, about what current discussions are amidst the pandemic and re-opening, from accessibility to the environment.

The Unsung Poetry of Working-class Women: A Review of The Daughters of Erietown

Connie Schultz’s debut novel intricately showcases not only the hardships, but also the dignity and resilience of the lives of small, working-class, Midwestern towns and the women who inhabit them.

The Science Behind Wearing Masks: Answers From an Infectious Disease Expert

As COVID-19 cases rise across the nation, masks (and requiring citizens to wear them) have become a major point of contention. We speak with Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences and an infectious disease modeler at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, about the use of masks and other ways to slow and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Hidden in Plain Sight the GBS
The Quiet Revolution of Midwestern Speech

For decades, the Midwest was the example of perfect, accent-less English. Now, increasing dialectic quirks are changing that perception, and with it, Midwestern identity.

South to Midwest: My Grandfather’s Great Migration

Through conversations with her grandfather, the author unpacks his personal history during the Civil Rights Movement and the Great Migration—one that paved the way for generations to come. Read his story and listen to excerpts from the interview.

for each other

Toledo has some name recognition (Holy Toledo!, anyone?), but most know very little about the Glass City besides what they may see on TV. When has Toledo made it to the big screen and how does TV influence the way the world sees Toledo, for better or for worse?

The path that brought us to Toledo was a winding one. In a way, you could say that we were brought here by the birth of our first child. Our beautiful baby girl was born on the evening of August 20th, 2016 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

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Wrestling With the Status Quo: A Review of The Peanut Butter Falcon

More often than not, challenging the status quo is seen as a threat to stability or “creating division” rather than an attempt at meaningful change. And that’s the exact tension that Zak (Zack Gottsagen), the central character of Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz’s film The Peanut Butter Falcon, presents to the people surrounding him; limited by perceptions of his...

How the Van Aken District Brought New Life to Shaker Heights: An Illustration Essay

My anti-morning person disposition requires that I have at least one iced coffee to start my day, and while Starbucks or Dunkin suffice, I much prefer to drink my coffee locally. So naturally, I was elated when Rising Star Coffee opened in the new Van Aken District in Shaker Heights—a suburb of Cleveland home to around 27,000 people—a mere...

Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur Has a New Committee Position. What Could That Mean for Toledo?

In post-industrial cities across the Midwest, the struggles of population loss, low wages and aging infrastructure remain as barriers to the economic revitalization of once-thriving manufacturing hubs, and Toledo and Cleveland are no exception. The new House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Dec. 30, 2020, aims to...

No Place Like Nome: New Life for an Abandoned North Dakota Schoolhouse

It had been years since the former students of the only school in Nome, North Dakota had been back in their gymnasium. A mixture of alumni, friends and family visited with each other around circular tables draped with black tablecloths as they waited for the buffet dinner to be unveiled. The shrill tone of a scoreboard buzzer caught their...

The Attraction of Food Service Work Is Plummeting. And Delivery Robots are Thriving.

You’re writing an essay in the campus library when your stomach rumbles. You pull out your phone and order pizza from the dining hall on an app. Five minutes later, your phone dings with a notification that your food is en route, and it dings again several minutes later to tell you your delivery is arriving. You head outside,...

Editor's Picks

How 3D Printing Is Re-envisioning the Future of Post-industrial Cities

In 2009, John Wilczynski was working as a quality planner at GM’s Pontiac Metal Center in Michigan when the company filed for bankruptcy. Over the following months, around ten...

The Unsung Poetry of Working-class Women: A Review of The Daughters of Erietown

Author Connie Schultz told a Glamour reporter in July that until hearing Bruce Springsteen’s music, “I didn't realize that our people lead lives of poetry too.” Who are “our...

War! Who Is It Good For? A Review of Da 5 Bloods

Da 5 Bloods, this June’s Netflix-exclusive Spike Lee joint, opens with archival footage from the American Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, prophetically resonating with the current political...

Becoming Michael’s, from Ellis Island to Toledo

When I was in third grade, I remember my parents being asked at a parent-teacher conference why I always talked about “hanging out at the bar.” On the one...

Winding Path to Toledo

Victor is a Toledoan who works as a data scientist at the University of Michigan. He is also a human and an American. He enjoys life and lives in South Toledo with his wife and daughter.

Latest COVID-19 Updates

Stories hold the power to shape the identity of a place and its inhabitants—for better or for worse. A look at Cleveland-based @belt_publishing helps shed light on how the publishing industry has shaped (and is shaping) the Midwestern narrative.

𝗧𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗲𝗸’𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗰𝘂𝘀: Daily COVID-19 cases and vaccinations in Ohio and Lucas County.

- Case averages in Ohio are continuing to increase. Over the last two weeks, cases have increased by 67%. *Daily case counts are continuously being updated.

It's been nearly seven years since the 2014 harmful algal bloom crisis in Toledo. For three hot summer days, drinking water was cut off for nearly half a million people. What happened and what did we learn?

𝙇𝙚𝙖𝙧𝙣 𝙢𝙤𝙧𝙚:

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Videos that explore the post-industrial landscape and the many narratives within

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