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Daily Inspiration: Meet Paula Schleis

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paula Schleis.  

Hi Paula, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My name is Paula Schleis. I’m 61 and live in Barberton, Ohio. I wrote for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio for more than 30 years before retiring in 2018. At the Beacon, I did beats that ranged from education to small business to features. My favorite style of writing was storytelling, and the paper often assigned me to do narrative pieces. 

The day I announced my retirement, my nephew Steve Yoder called and said, “I know what you’re going to be doing with your retirement. You’re going to do a podcast.” I laughed, but within the month, we sat down and worked out plans for Ohio Mysteries, a weekly podcast that would explore any kind of topic that had a mystery angle attached to the Buckeye State. 

We now drop episodes twice a week, every Sunday and Wednesday at 8 p.m. 

This year, we added a YouTube Channel. With more than 350 episodes in our catalog, we decided to go back and start doing video treatments of previous stories, and we are adding a new one to our channel every Friday morning. So, people can get an “Ohio Mysteries” fix three times a week now! 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
We had to teach ourselves the technology, of course. Steve took on the role of learning the software and editing. I focused on the research and storytelling. We are still works in progress, always trying to figure out how to make the finished product a little more polished, though we still consider ourselves amateurs, and our fans seem willing to overlook our flaws! 

Our program has changed along the way. We used to have an “armchair detective” at the end of each episode, bringing on board an Ohio Mysteries listener to chat about the story we presented. We stopped that when the pandemic made it more challenging, and never returned to it. 

We also spent years featuring an Ohio band making original music on each Sunday episode. We still offer to do that, but now we ask bands to reach out to us. We were spending several hours a month trying to locate and communicate with bands. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I developed a real love for storytelling within journalism, and the Akron Beacon Journal always allowed me to practice that. For instance, when a small plane crashed in Akron, killing all aboard, I was called on to do a story about the people on board and putting together their day based on whatever nuggets I could find. I loved the opportunity to turn victims into real people with full lives and families who love and miss them. It’s the same reason I have such a passion for many of our Ohio Mysteries stories. I’m committed in each episode to showing our subjects as more than victims, but as people who could have been your neighbor or coworker. 

Also, I love applying my talents to my love of Ohio. Finding ways to get other people to fall in love with Ohio is one of our missions. 

Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We are always looking for musical artists in or from Ohio who are making original music. We want to promote them! It’s hard making a living in creative arts and it’s our little way of exposing them to a new audience. Just contact us at feedback@ohiomysteries.com and we’ll make it happen. 

Steve and I are fortunate enough that we have financial supporters who pay the bills for our little project. If you like what you hear and want to support it, we have a Patreon account, where listeners can donate as little as $1 a month and still make a difference for us! Just search for “Ohio Mysteries” at Patreon.com. 

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Ohio Mysteries

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