WOUB Producer/Director inspires area students
Evan Shaw encourages area school kids to dream big
ATHENS, Ohio – The line was about 15-deep at Alexander Middle School in early November to get an autograph. The children were giddy about being able to meet this person and walk out of school that day with the signature of someone they considered to be famous. And even though WOUB Producer/Director Evan Shaw hasn’t gotten over how strange it seems that young people would want his autograph, it also makes him feel like he accomplished his mission that day.
“I have been going to career days and other school visits for the past couple of years,” said Shaw. “It is my personal passion to show the children in the school districts that WOUB serves that you can grow up in this region, like I did, and pursue a career in television and video or whatever your passion may be, and be successful at it.”
Shaw is a 13-time Emmy-Award winner, who graduated from Ohio University and grew up in Meigs County. In addition to producing programs at WOUB Public Media, like the award-winning Our Town historical documentary series, Shaw also has a side hustle as a videographer for NFL Films.
“For many kids in our area, working in the television industry and especially with the NFL seems unattainable,” said Shaw. “I want to show them that they can achieve what seems to be impossible and also do it while living in this region, if they choose.”
Shaw doesn’t only visit schools in the region. He wants to bring his message to all ages. Shaw was recently the keynote speaker at a Meigs County Soil and Water Conservation District meeting, and he’s spoken to senior citizens at Ohio Health.
“One of the reasons I love producing the Our Town series is that it tells the story of the communities in this region and gives people a reason to feel proud about where they are from,” said Shaw. “That’s what I hope to do with my talks at schools and organizations – inspire regional pride.”
Shaw said one of his proudest moments came at Zane Trace Career Center earlier this year.
“There was a student who the teachers told me was on the Autism Spectrum. They said he hardly ever spoke,” said Shaw. “I didn’t know that, and after I gave my presentation, he asked me a lot of questions. One of the teachers pulled me aside and told me that was the most the student had ever spoken in class.”
Shaw also works with students at Athens Middle School in support of their documentary club and helps them participate in state competitions. Last year, he was able to watch students sweep the regional competition and advance to state. He’s looking forward to guiding them again this year.
“It’s great to see these students get interested in video and documentary production,” said Shaw. “They didn’t even know it was an option before, and it’s cool to watch them get excited. I get to see the light bulb turn on.”
Shaw doesn’t know what happens to the autographs he signs after the student takes them home to mom and dad. Even though an autograph from Evan Shaw doesn’t mean anything to the parents, he hopes its value is in the inspiration it provides for students to go after their dreams.