Richland County, Ohio and their neighbors in Ashland and Knox Counties know first-hand how important -- and fragile -- independent local journalism can be. Source Media Properties has taken an important step toward sustaining local news through the creation of a new position with the company, Director of Journalism Sustainability. Current Sales Director Angie Cirone moved into this new role on Aug. 23.
“As local newspapers close or are downsized throughout Ohio, crucial stories go uncovered. Richland Source, Ashland Source and Knox Pages are steadily growing in readership and we want to continue to fill the gap.” Cirone said. “Individual, community and philanthropic support is foundational to our ability to deliver impactful local journalism.”
The Source believes it is ready to take the next step toward a newsroom powered by its community.
The newsroom has focused on impactful local reporting since it launched in 2013. This approach helped reporters establish trust with the community and start a membership program in 2015. Corporate and institutional support began in 2017 through Newsroom Partnerships.
Membership grew significantly in 2018 as the team applied lessons learned through the Local News Membership Accelerator program within the Facebook Journalism Project.
Over the years, Source Media Properties has competed for and won grant funding from the Solutions Journalism Network, the Google News Initiative, the Lenfest Institute, and the Ashland County Community Foundation.
Most recently in 2021, Ashland Source and Knox Pages received a Report for America grant and has its first corps member, Emma Davis, on staff.
Cirone will work collaboratively across Source Media Properties to grow support through individual and corporate giving as well as grant opportunities. Her goal is to strategically grow support and help the newsroom achieve long-term sustainability through these three revenue streams.
“We were founded in 2013 to tell a holistic story about our communities and make a positive impact on the lives of the folks we cover.”, said company President Jay Allred. “Over eight years, our reporters and editors have held that mission at the center of their work. Now that we know what an impact a solutions-focused local newsroom can have, it’s time to invite everyone in our community to help us write the next chapter in that story.”
It’s no secret that financial health is difficult to achieve for local newsrooms. It’s an uphill battle that requires a good deal of creativity and hustle.
“Every member of our team is committed to a North Star goal of a newsroom funded by the community it serves,” Cirone said. “It’s not a matter of if we’ll achieve this goal, it’s when. I am delighted to be able to focus on these community investment initiatives full-time and see how quickly we can hit our goal and set a higher one.”
Consider becoming a member and getting our community closer to an independent newsroom here for the long term. Every penny of your investment powers local independent journalism in your town.