Lecturer Joan Steidl Produces Program for WKSU’s Fragments of May 4th Series
Kent State University at Ashtabula Human Services Technology Associate Lecturer Joan Steidl has produced a program to air as part of the 50th Commemoration of May 4, 1970 on WKSU 89.7 FM, Kent State University’s award-winning NPR public news radio station.
“The Power of So Many Flowers” first aired Wednesday, April 29, during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. It is one of five programs in the “Fragments of May 4th: Artifacts, Mementos, and Meaning” series.
Steidl put together the audio production of the piece. Graduate journalism student Lyndsey Brennan wrote the story which accompanies the radio story.
“I took the Storytelling with Sound journalism class this semester and Amanda Rabinowitz, WKSU's morning host, is the class instructor,” Steidl said. “I took the class as a part of my commitment to lifelong learning and my love for broadcast production. Last time I edited anything, we were using tape! So it had been a very long time - 35+ years, since I'd produced anything – and it was time to stretch myself and learn again.”
The project was part of a class assignment, designed with the 50th commemoration of May 4 as a backdrop. Working in teams of two, the students chose an item from the May 4 Visitor's Center that they wanted to learn more about. The students then had the opportunity to interview the individuals who donated the items.
“The goal was to show the stories contained in these seemingly ordinary objects. A photograph, a tear gas canister, a recorder- all of these things have meaning to someone,” said Steidl. “We interviewed, and listened as the interview subject described what the item means to them, giving it some emotional context.”
According to WKSU, the May 4 Visitors Center has received many new artifacts over the years from people who were on campus in 1970 and their families, including memorabilia from the victims of the tragedy, as well as photographs and personal items from witnesses awaiting context and reflection. As the campus prepared for the 50th commemoration, WKSU's Rabinowitz and Kent State journalism professor Jacqueline Marino worked with journalism students to start creating audio reflections of these "Fragments of May 4." Included among these seemingly ordinary objects were two photographs, a plaque, some bullets and a box marked “Keep Forever.”
In addition to airing live, the programs are archived and shared at www.wksu.org and across WKSU’s social media platforms.
For more information on the project, and a full schedule of all the programs in the series, visit https://www.wksu.org/topic/fragments-may-4-artifacts-mementos-and-meaning.