Feature Story

Ohio Wesleyan Students Examine Homelessness in Delaware

June 9, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Courtney Dunne (left) and Olivia Lease spent a semester studying homelessness, resulting in their ‘Streets of Delaware’ multimedia project. (Photo courtesy of OWU’s Office of University Chaplain)

Ohio Wesleyan students Courtney Dunne and Olivia Lease created the ‘Streets of Delaware’ website featuring news articles, video and audio clips, and photos from their investigation of homelessness in Delaware. (Photo collage courtesy of Streets of Delaware project)

Multifaceted Issue Tackled in Multimedia Journalism Project

Courtney Dunne (left) and Olivia Lease spent a semester studying homelessness, resulting in their ‘Streets of Delaware’ multimedia project. (Photo courtesy of OWU’s Office of University Chaplain)

The project took Ohio Wesleyan University students Courtney Dunne and Olivia Lease outside of their comfort zones in more ways than one.

The project – an independent study in multimedia journalism – took the OWU journalism majors to the “Streets of Delaware,” where they interviewed members of the community’s homeless population and examined the resources available to help them.

For the semester-long project, Dunne and Lease also stretched their journalism skills to plan the detailed, multifaceted investigation that included identifying sources, preparing for and conducting interviews; shooting and editing video; taking photographs; recording audio; and creating a comprehensive website to share the results of their investigation.

Dunne and Lease chose to title their project “Streets of Delaware,” after learning that this is the official address used for the city’s homeless in public records.

In a June 8 Delaware Gazette article, “Telling the homeless’ story,” Dunne, a theatre double major from Cincinnati, told writer Stacy Kess: “So many times throughout our reporting, we thought ‘this issue is so much bigger than we had imagined.’ But I think that’s what drove us to continue what we were doing.”

And Lease, an environmental studies double major from Toledo, added that she and Dunne hope their work helps to increase knowledge and discussion about Delaware’s homeless situation.

“Part of our goal was getting the word out there and bringing this issue to the forefront,” Lease told Kess. “We hope people read what we’ve written or see what we found.”

Read more from Dunne and Lease’s “Streets of Delaware” project; read more about journalism at Ohio Wesleyan.