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Coming Home with Some Mystery

Communication is key. It’s an overstated but underappreciated sentiment. Without communication work, home, and school are thrown into chaos. In the first few weeks of working with the BrandJRNY team learned hands-on skills that I would not have had the opportunity to discover through other university opportunities, including how to record live events and how to connect with the community. One of my biggest contributions to the team was my communication skills.


My name is Crystal Check, and I am a videographer on the BrandJRNY brand storytelling team at West Virginia University, and I get to film the beauty and people of Point Pleasant, W.Va. while also documenting the progress of the BrandJRNY team.

I find that I easily communicate with all sorts of people and I strengthen this skill with each semester. Additionally, the main drive behind the development of my communication skills is the search for knowledge. I am always looking to understand everything in the world, always searching for answers. With the BrandJRNY team, I want to know more about our project and Point Pleasant. I want to know the people of the town and what landmarks they have, what events they host and what is important to them.


In a small community such as Point Pleasant, most people already know each other. One of the best ways to find a town’s identity is to capture the attention of the people who live there and talk to them. As an outsider visiting the town you most likely won’t know where to go or who to ask to get the best information on the culture of the town. Thankfully BrandJRNY is excellent at making connections and doing independent research, which gave us insight on the town before we even spoke to the citizens.


During the Mothman Festival, I spent most of my time filming vendors and cosplayers, but I also took a good amount of time seeking out people who looked like they had a story to share. Walking towards the waterfront I headed to the mural that stretched seemingly endlessly along the river and tells a story about the town’s history.


There I met so many interesting people. There were a large amount of people who had traveled just over the river from Ohio. When asked why they decided to come to the festival, many answered that it was either a tradition, or their family was originally from Point Pleasant.


Another group I spoke to specifically were a group of teens from the area, resting on a hill overlooking the water. When asked why they attended the festival when this myth was with them year round, they said that the people and excitement drew them out of their homes to experience the festival again this year. And once more I wonder what it is about Point Pleasant that seems to cast a spell over everyone who visits it? Could it be the rich history of the town, or maybe the waterfront views?


I may never know the answer to that question, but I do know that the communication I found in Point Pleasant and especially at the waterfront gave me a better understanding of the town for myself and for the team. I will continue to look for people to talk to and more things to learn from Point Pleasant during this initiative so that I am able to give my best for the team and for the town.


Visitors to the Mothman Festival enjoy live music at the waterfront amphitheater in downtown Point Pleasant. Source: Andrés Warren

Crystal Check is a BrandJRNY videographer from Uniontown, PA. She is an avid horse rider and likes to write. Connect with her on Facebook.

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Housed at the WVU Media Innovation Center, BrandJRNY is a community branding initiative that is a grant-funded collaboration between the American Electric Power Foundation and WVU Reed College of Media.

The Initiative was previously funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation for our three pilot projects.

Original website designed by Mariah Elliott, under the direction of PI and Director Dr. Rita Colistra.

Photos and content may not be used without written permission by contacting brandjrny@gmail.com.

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