Who IS this guy?
I began writing full-time 23 years ago when I took a job covering city government for the Ashland Times-Gazette in Ohio. I later switched to the criminal justice beat. While with the Times-Gazette, I won Associated Press awards in news writing, column writing, editorial writing, business writing, feature writing and breaking news. In 2000 I took first, second and third place respectively in news writing, editorial writing and column writing.
I retired at the end of October 2013 and continue to write freelance articles for the Times-Gazette and its sister paper, the Loudonville Times-Shopper. Throughout my career, I earned the respect of people I covered, even though that coverage did not always show them in a positive light. My retirement reception was attended by every sitting judge in Ashland County, all three county commissioners, the current and previous mayors, the sheriff, chief of police, fire chief, commander of the Highway Patrol post, many of the rank and file officers of those agencies, representatives of mental health and social service agencies and other community leaders as well as dozens of everyday people I encountered on my beat. However, since the event was scheduled on Oct. 31, they might have mistaken it for a Halloween party.
In 2011, the Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau commissioned me to write a history of the local canoe livery industry to mark the 50th anniversary. More recently, in May 2018, I coauthored, compiled and edited a 50-page history book about Pleasant Hill Lake Park.
While I was working at the Times-Gazette, a photographer resigned and the position wasn’t filled. I started taking my point-and-shoot camera along on my beat and developed an interest in photography. In 2017, I started showing my work publicly for the first time. I entered 10 photos in the Loudonville Street Fair. All 10 won blue ribbons, and one made best of show. I’ve since had photos selected for exhibition in the NEOS Dance Theatre M.A.D.E. in Ashland project (2018-2020) and the Mansfield Art Center May Show (2018-2019). In January 2020, I served as a judge for the ArtSpace Lima Photography Club Show. My work can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/irvoslinphotographer/. I was commissioned in 2018 and 2019 to photograph Mohican Wildlife Weekend events.
Prior to writing for the Times-Gazette and moving to north central Ohio, I worked freelance and wrote a weekly column for the Columbus Guardian. There, I won a Society of Professional Journalists award for column writing. The columns were an extension of those I wrote for Hoot, a biweekly humor tabloid that I founded, edited and published in Columbus.
My columns have twice been selected for inclusion in ColdType, an international collection of the best English language works in journalism.
In its heyday, Hoot boasted a circulation of 20,000 including roughly 1,000 paying subscribers in 47 different states and a dozen foreign countries. I enjoyed writing more than the grind of selling ads, doing layout, bookkeeping and circulation for Hoot, so I sold the paper in the mid 1990s for promises on the dollar and moved on. I’m still waiting to collect.
The Guardian served as a springboard for my journalism career. The editors talked me into writing a weekly Statehouse column, which also appeared in weekly papers around Ohio.
The column led to a few in-depth stories including an exposé of a company known as AgriGeneral. In November 1996 I went undercover, getting a job at the company’s factory style egg farm in Hardin County and exposing the devastating effects of the company’s practices on the community, migrant workers and the environment. As a result of my investigative article, which appeared in papers throughout Ohio, the company immediately gave its employees a 50¢-an-hour raise, changed its name to Buckeye Egg and took steps to clean up its act.
Prior to moving from Cleveland to Columbus in 1986 and starting Hoot, I occasionally wrote freelance humor and op ed pieces for the Plain Dealer. My humor pieces appeared in the Sunday Magazine and the Friday entertainment tab.
A few more Irv Oslin factoids
• Outside interests (literally) — I’m widely known as a “canoe bum,” paddling and camping year round. I also dabble in cross-country skiing, kayaking, hiking, nature-watching and gardening.
• Since 2011, I’ve edited the quarterly newsletter for the Greater Mohican Audubon Society.
• Mansfield Art Center board member.
• Appointed to the Mohican State Scenic River Advisory Board in 2018.
• Work history — Among other things, I’ve been a journalist, freelance writer, publisher, truck driver, factory worker, cab driver and cowboy. I also worked for about seven years at Abbot Bindery, a family business in Cleveland. The business has ceased operations.
• Education — A professional student, I’ve studied journalism, liberal arts, motion picture and TV production, acting, theatre, the visual arts and pretty much anything that interested me. I never tried for a degree, but have enough credits to be the only person in history to get a PhD from a community college. I majored in horticulture in high school.
• Family — I’m divorced and have two adult children and a granddaughter. I’m 68.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/irv.oslin
Twitter at https://twitter.com/irvoslin