Over two years ago the Center for Community Solutions grew increasingly concerned about the disappearance of local journalism, particularly as it related to the coverage of important health and human service issues. We watched news outlets across Ohio either shut down entirely or layoff reporters with years of experience, and not replace them. And with these losses, Community Solutions was concerned that important health and human services stories, stories with the potential to impact the lives of Ohioans, aren’t being told.
We watched news outlets across Ohio either shut down entirely or layoff reporters with years of experience, and not replace them.
Dani Carlson, our previous Director of Communications and Digital Strategy, and I created a modest CCS Health and Human Service Grant program that provided small stipends to five reporters from four newspapers. They included Rachel Dissell and Ginger Christ then with The Plain Dealer, Jess Hardin then with the Youngstown Vindicator, Hannah Lebovits then with Cleveland Scene, and Betty Lin-Fisher with the Akron Beacon Journal. Tellingly only one of these reporters, Betty Lin-Fisher, remains with the Akron Beacon Journal.
Community Solutions is a founding supporter of non-profit newsroom in an effort to revive and enhance local journalism in Cleveland
As a 108-year-old think tank, one of Community Solutions’ goals is to improve the health, social and economic conditions of all Ohioans. We believe strong health and human services reporting is an important step to achieve that and we hoped that our strategic leadership is helpful in efforts to address this crucial issue. But we also knew that a bigger more robust effort was needed to preserve and enhance local journalism in our community.
The newsroom will launch in 2022 with 25 reporters and will be one of the largest local non-profit news start-ups in the country.
This is why we are so pleased to be a founding supporter–along with the Cleveland Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Visible Voice Charitable Fund, the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, and the American Journalism Project–of a non-profit, community-led newsroom serving Cleveland. The newsroom will launch in 2022 with 25 reporters and will be one of the largest local non-profit news start-ups in the country.
Cleveland non-profit journalism initiative will partner and elevate local voices
One aspect of the project that I am particularly excited about is the partnership with Cleveland Documenters. Cleveland Documenters, based at Neighborhood Connections, recruits, trains, and pays Greater Clevelanders to report and produce information for their neighborhoods. In a relatively short period of time they have become an invaluable resource. The collaboration will support more reporting, driven by the 400+ documenters, about issues that matter most to residents. The newsroom will also partner with members of the Neighborhood and Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland (NCMA), to increased distribution of original reporting across platforms.
If you would like more information about the project or are interested in applying for a reporting or other position, you can visit https://www.localnewsforohio.org/.