My name is Matt Morris. I’m a fifth generation Morgan County resident. I live in McConnelsville and was raised in Malta. Morgan County is a small community of 14,000 with approximately 3,000 residents living in the center of the county villages of Malta and McConnelsville.
My mother worked for the Morgan County Herald, the county newspaper, for more than 25 years. My father was a third-generation owner of a family-operated tire shop in town.
Morgan County has lost nearly all industry and agricultural businesses since my earlier years. Residents now commute 45 minutes or more to their jobs, leaving little time for social and civic responsibilities. Parents who are interested in their children’s best interests raise them to leave the county after high school. Morgan County residents still strongly associate with the agricultural roots of the region, and send their children into 4H and Future Farmers of America.
Moving to Morgan County as a teenager, I was able to see these behaviors with a different perspective. I witnessed established employers disappear and the state slowly neglect our infrastructure. Now, as an adult living and working in Morgan County, I see the shortcomings of community communications and community leadership.
As a generation X’er, I struggle with computer literacy issues and attended Ohio University’s Media and Journalism programs to overcome them. While at OU, I joined the local team working to enhance the region’s communication. Zipit.news, our online, local hub, is connecting our rural communities. I see journalism as a way to observe, inform and encourage participation across the region.
My role as the Zipit.News hub manager stems from my own experiences and observations about the community’s need for better ways to communicate. My drive comes from curiosity, to learn how communities cope, operate and accomplish their dreams.
I would like to be a part of developing better local communications as we emerge beyond the industrial era and progress into the 21st century.
Welcome to ZipIt.News!