The Benwood Mine Disaster
Digital Storytelling, Part 5
by Felix Rivera and Christopher Carabotta [ See video at end of article ]
When my partner Christopher Carabotta and I first walked through the Ohio County Public Library, we could tell almost instantaneously that we had something great to promote. The warm, welcoming interior, pleasant staff, and wide variety of resources surprised us, having not expected much from a seemingly small town. After learning about the Benwood Mine Disaster, we were even more excited about our video and quickly went to work with voice overs, editing and pictures. The archives coordinators, Seán Duffy and Erin Rothenbuehler, gave us advice and plenty of helpful hints to make our video as great as it possibly could be.
With regards to our feature video and how every element of it came to be, many factors were taken into consideration. We wanted to tell a story that would resonate within the hearts of whoever saw it and that’s exactly what the mine story provided us. We mentioned Mr. Joseph Tellitocci in class, and our professor told us to try and center the story around him with a focus on the mine. This proved to be a challenge at first, but we couldn’t be any happier with the end result. The topic was extremely interesting to my partner and me because it gave us an inside look at a story most people know from a different perspective. We learned so much about the mine — the effect that it had on Wheeling and its people, how different life used to be for various ethnic groups, resources that the town relied on to carry on, and many more subtopics. We’re extremely proud of the way that our video turned out.
Overall, the experience we got from working on this story was phenomenal. My partner and I are extremely grateful for all of the help that we got from our professor, the Ohio County Public Library, and the community of Wheeling. Digital Storytelling has proven to be a great way of connecting with different people and coming together in a way that’s fun and easy-to-understand. It’s still amazes us how much you can learn about a person, place or event in just five minutes. We strongly urge viewers to take a deeper look into the mine disaster and to visit the Ohio County Public Library. The number of resources and stories there are incredible.
Digital Storytelling: Benwood Mining Disaster
[Note: This is the fifth and last entry in a five part series by Cal U Honors Students.
See Part 1, Sweeney Glass; Part 2, West Liberty’s Rare Books; and Part 3, Earl Oglebay; and part 4, WV Independence Hall ]