www.reelate.org is a web-based initiative that developes and showcases micro-documentaries about Stark County, Ohio artists, activists, leaders and unique citizens. These stories aim to make connections between people, ideas and action in Stark County.
While many contemporary narratives about the web depict it as a kind of place-less utopia: the end of geography and boundaries, many users find that the web offers new unique ways to reconnect ourselves to the geographic space where we live.
Sites like outside.in, placeblogger, spot.us and hyperlocal.org feature various notions of citizen-journalism — people who live in a place driving (and sometimes even crafting) the stories that get told. Other projects like The Organic City have broadened their sense of hyperlocal to more kinds of stories.
My partners and I founded reelate.org in hope that the connecting power of the web will be combined with the powerful connections stories can forge between people — building people’s interests and investments in local concerns, local voices and local artists.
We were awarded a grant in 2009 and helped a handful of storytellers: a few were accomplished, most were not — and developed seven stories to start populating reelate.org with local stories.