On Sunday, Oct. 30, 1938 at 8 p.m., Orson Welles scared the heck out of the world—or at least the part of the country that was within the sound of a radio as it played “War of the Worlds.” The broadcast was part of the golden age of radio and its dramatized alien invasion is replayed around Halloween each year, including here in Cottage Grove.
We value the lessons history has to teach us here at The Sentinel and so, this time before something new and possibly scary comes over the airwaves at you, we’re going to give you a fair warning. Here it is:
We’re launching a podcast.
Essentially, it’s the same thing as “War of the Worlds” except it’s not technically on the radio, it’s more than one episode, it’s about Cottage Grove and it’s not at all scary.
The Grove Report will be available on our website and for download on our social media platforms and it will come in two flavors—one will be published every Tuesday. It will feature our sports editor Zach and I chatting about the news hitting the stands the next day—a preview, if you will. We’ll talk about how we found the story, the interviews we conducted and why something did, or did not, make it into the article. Overall, it will be between five and 10 minutes or the perfect length for a quick jaunt into town, a school drop off or a coffee break.
The other will come once a month in what we in journalism call the long form story. These audio stories will focus on a specific event or issue. We may tell the story of a come-from-behind team headed for the playoffs where you’ll hear from coaches, players and parents. We could also venture in Cottage Grove’s politics and talk homelessness with the city administration, state lawmakers, business owners and those who have found themselves on our streets. Or we could do a deep dive on a hot-topic issue like our first episode, due out Jan. 16, that focuses on the decision to close Latham School. Zach will walk you through the narrative that touches on the school’s 165-year-old history, talking with folks who spent decades at the school and explaining the finances behind its closure.
So, why now? Why at all?
Because as we started approaching the new year, we solidified our idea of how we wanted to approach telling the news of the community which I outlined in a column last week. As part of those discussions, we talked about where we wanted to go and how to get there—hence the podcast. It’s a new platform that relies on the old standards of storytelling and to be honest, we’re pretty excited about it. Not only will it broaden our skills as journalists but it will allow our community to connect to the stories it shares with us on a new level and in a new way.
The first episode is available now and on the 16th, we’ll tell Latham’s story. We hope you give it a listen and appreciate your feedback.