Video blog showcases Northeast Ohio to worldwide audience

Ted Hamilton

Assistant Professor of Political Science Richard Stansilaw has an onlne video blog. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

There are many ways to tell stories to people through media such as TV, movies, books, and, of course, newspapers.

Richard Stanislaw, political science instructor, uses an online video blog at to tell stories about the art, culture and news in Northeastern Ohio.

Video blogs bring together TV and online journalism, Stanislaw said.

“Ten years from now, everyone will watch TV on their computers,” he said.

Each of the videos on his Web site is between three and five minutes long, Stanislaw said. Some of the episodes are newsy, while others are meant for entertainment. Topics range from the May 4 shootings to interviews with musicians.

One of the contributors to “General Cabbage” is Don Dixon, a music producer who has worked with R.E.M. and Hootie and the Blowfish. Stanislaw said they would like to do a lot of things about music.

“Dixon and I talked about doing video blogs with regular things,” he said. “General Cabbage is a way to practice those things and see what we can and can’t do.”

The ideas for the episodes come from a wide range of places, he said.

“Some people have suggested some things and we get other ideas from talking to people,” he said.

Alyson Flynn is another contributor to General Cabbage. She does most of the editing, she said.

The quick digital editing and ease of putting things on the Web site helps create a different form of storytelling, Stanislaw said. The episodes are shot with a digital camera and edited with software such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro and GarageBand.

“With editing, it takes around 10 hours per show,” he said.

Flynn tries to shoot 10 to 12 minutes, and then she cuts the videos down to under five minutes.

Sometimes it’s hard to shoot for only five minutes of video, Flynn said.

“You know what story you’re going after and this whole world opens up,” she said.

During an interview with Joe Quinn, a pigeon breeder and expert, the team also found out he was considered an expert on football teams and games from before the ’40s.

The episode became even more interesting when Quinn mentioned the United Nations had been asking for his input on using pigeons as a food source for starving people in Africa, she said.

“At the moment, we thought it was a local story and it turned out it had international significance,” Flynn said.

General Cabbage gets about 1,000 viewers a week from around 40 different countries. The countries range from places like Canada and Mexico to countries in the Middle East.

“The United States has most of our viewers; the second is Sweden,” Stanislaw said laughing. “I have no idea whatsoever why Sweden is the second.”

Rocky Edwards, another General Cabbage contributor, said she thinks the episodes help people express what it is like to be an Ohioan. She thinks the six degrees of separation, the idea everyone on Earth is connected to someone else by no more than five people, is getting smaller.

“Things like video blog are making the world a smaller place because they let people connect,” she said. “If you compare it with something from the past it’s like a little small-town newspaper that goes all over the place thanks to the Internet.”

One of the next episodes to appear on the Web site covers the Goodyear strike, Stanislaw said. The episode includes several interviews with several strikers, the president of the International Steel Workers and ex-vice presidential candidate John Edwards.

Contact features correspondent Ted Hamilton at [email protected].