2019 Reinke Grants for Visual Storytelling and Mary Withers Rural Writing Fellowship Announced

Boyd’s Station is honored to announce three 2019 Reinke Grant for Visual Storytelling recipients and proudly awards the first Mary Withers Rural Writing Fellowship.

The 2019 Reinke Grant recipients are Ohio University’s Michael Johnson, Ball State University’s Stephanie Amador and Kent State University’s Nathaniel Bailey.

The first Mary Withers Rural Writing Fellowship is awarded to Ohio University’s Margaret Heltzel.

An impressive and competitive field of student visual documentary photographers and journalists from 21 university programs applied for these grants and fellowship. The grants and fellowship provide recipients an intense 12-week opportunity to document the people and places of the nearly 300 square miles of Harrison County, Kentucky as part of Boyd's Station’s 306.36 Visual & Writing Documentary Project.

Submitted applications and portfolios were evaluated by a selection committee including Nikki Kahn, formerly of the Washington Post, Stephen Crowley, formerly of the New York Times, Michael Keating, formerly of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Jeff Swensen of American Reportage, Andrew P. Scott from USA TODAY, Cara Owsley of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Carrie Cochran of the E.W. Scripps Company, Amy Kinsella Gruber, Brad Mangin, Lisa Bardin and Neil Rush.

The Reinke Grant is named in honor of Ed Reinke, an award-winning Associated Press photographer and mentor to countless photojournalists. Ed died in 2011 following an injury he suffered while covering an Indy Car race at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Kentucky.

The Mary Withers Rural Writing Fellowship is awarded in the memory of Mary Elizabeth Withers who passed away on Sunday, March 11, 2018 at her home in Boyd, Kentucky. A life-long Harrison County resident, Mary was instrumental in the founding of Boyd’s Station serving as one of the founding board of directors. Mary was a passionate supporter of the historic Boyd Methodist Church, the arts, education and Harrison County, Kentucky. She is truly missed.



Michael Johnson, Ohio University

“I try to seek out the quiet moments to better understand people. I feel determined when someone includes me in a part of their everyday life. Catching someone in an instance of quiet can tell more about the person than they could with their own words.”

Stephanie Amador, Ball State University

“I'm curious about how people affect their community. Just like myself, there's an identity that needs to be explained. I listen and empathize to people's story because their life reflects on their community.”

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Nathaniel Bailey, Kent State University

“Documentary photojournalism allows others to see people they would likely never meet and it allows them to view places they would normally never be. By doing so, excellent storytelling can broaden our understanding of what each of us as humans share.”



Margaret Heltzel, Ohio University

“I know a little about a lot. Conversations come easily that way. I have been a livestock handler at Mount Vernon Estate since I was 14 years old. There, I learned how to drive horses and oxen, cultivate fields using an 18th-century plow, assist ewes in lambing, sheer sheep, and curate history. The job requires teamwork, calmness, and a certain meticulousness. As a journalist, I have to be a decent writer. I can research, interview subjects, and put sentences together to create a story. In a way, journalism is like farming. Both require patience, observation, and cultivation. Truth drives success. Hardships inspire innovation.”