The site of a Halcon Resources natural gas well being drilled into the Utica Shale in a northern Trumbull County township remains lit up like daylight, even in the dead of a cold winter night.
But that bright light is little in comparison to the ongoing spotlight the national media has been shining on the area as reporters continue to swoop in for their piece of the Utica Shale story.
A Youngstown native who freelances for Time magazine and Channel 4 news in the U.K. spent time last week back in his hometown shooting video and researching a story about the pros and cons of the Utica Shale.
Tribune Chronicle / Brenda J. Linert
Videographer and reporter John Wendle, formerly of Youngstown, shoots footage for an story about natural drilling in the Utica Shale.
His visit came just weeks after a reporter from Norway-based gas and oil industry trade newspaper ''Upstream'' spent several days in Lordstown and other nearby counties researching a story set to run as the weekly newspaper's cover story next month.
Esquire Magazine in January also took a close look at the hydraulic fracturing process used to retrieve natural gas from Shale plays like the Utica.
All this came after CNBC's Phil LeBeau spent the entire day broadcasting live from Youngstown in October as part of a network package on Utica Shale.
John Wendle, a 1998 Ursuline High School graduate who has been living in Afghanistan and reporting for Time Magazine, spent more than a week back home in Youngstown doing research for a story he hopes to sell to Time and also Channel 4 in the U.K.
As part of his research, Wendle spent time with Youngstown State University professor Jeffrey Dick discussing the Utica and disposal of brine water released in the hydraulic fracturing process. Dick is chairman of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at the university.
Wendle showed great interest in what could become of his hometown, delving into the environmental concerns as well as the potential economic boom. He believes his story might be of particular interest to the UK television station in light of Britain-based BP's lease of mineral rights on more than 80,000 acres in Trumbull County and thousands more in Mahoning County.
Noting that both his grandfathers had worked in steel mills of the Mahoning Valley, Wendle was familiar first hand with the area's economic challenges and what the potential natural gas and oil industry might mean for the rust belt towns.
''We have been the beaten dog for so long, and now we are given a great big bone, and we are just wagging our tails,'' Wendle said of the Mahoning Valley's collective hope.
Noah Brenner, reporter for Upstream, also has seen the flicker of that hope. Brenner, who works out of Houston, spent time with the mayor of Lordstown and some area businessmen before traveling to Cleveland and Carroll County to get a handle on the effects of the Utica Shale drilling.
''The business community is certainly very excited,'' Brenner said of his visit to Trumbull County.
Brenner said his story is expected to run Feb. 22 along with a series of stories from other Shale plays in other parts of the world.
He said the story will include a slice of the lives of local residents including a look at their hopes and fears and the impact they expect from Utica.
Another indepth story published in the January edition of Esquire also looked at the effects of hydraulic fracturing. That story focused heavily on nearby western Pennsylvania towns.
In October CNBC's Phil LeBeau reported live from Youngstown and appeared on the "NBC Nightly News" to talk about the Utica and what it could mean for America's energy independence. That day, CNBC's Jim Cramer also appeared on the "Today" show to discuss the Utica Shale boom and broadcast his show "Mad Money" from Canton-based Timken Faircrest Steel Plant to focus on the effects of the boom.