You are the owner of this article.
featured
Commentary

Mansfield's journalistic teams put under national microscope

  • 2 min to read
Talk the Vote 2019 in Ward 2

Reporters and residents came together in September to talk about the upcoming local election at Publisher Jay Allred's home in one of the many efforts employed by Richland Source to make local journalism a collaborative process.

The news about local news in America stinks, but there's a few organizations fighting back and making it work. That was the subject of a cover story in the Christian Science Monitor that went live earlier this week.

We thought you might want to read it.

Richland Source and the Mansfield News Journal, two of Mansfield's major news operations were at the center of the story.

While in Mansfield, freelance journalist Doug Struck spoke to people all over the city including our leadership team, newsroom employees at the Source and the News Journal, Mayor Theaker, and a number of others.

It's a sign of good journalism when some questions make you a little uncomfortable. At least for our team, they did. Struck challenged our assumptions and made us justify our approach to local news gathering, which is a tossed salad of hard news and community information, dressed with a focus on solutions journalism.

He asked hard questions about our audience engagement work, and our stance as a force for progress and positive change in the region.

Larry Phillips mug shot

Richland Source managing editor Larry Phillips. Phillips has been in the journalism business for thirty years. He's led the Source newsroom since 2016. 

In his observations about Mansfield, we didn't always love what we were reading, but we think he was fair. His quotes from our team were accurate and as we noted, the news about the business of local news in America is generally bad.

Just last month, a merger of Gatehouse and Gannett cleared anti-trust hurdles and will likely result in more dramatic changes in the local news landscape right here in Mansfield. It's a chilling overall picture for the state of corporate-owned journalism. 

Yet Struck's piece also touched on some of the reasons local journalism is so incredibly important -- and why readers not just want, but need a locally-invested news organization in their communities.

It goes beyond having a watchdog for public entities, which is critical and obvious. Local news also includes business openings, neighborhood projects and even sports and obituaries. These pieces of information keep us informed, feed our sense of pride in the region, and stitch us together in the fabric of a community.

Our founder, Carl Fernyak, is adamant we remain a source of free online news and information. We're transparent that our mission is to help change the conversation about north central Ohio through the practice of solutions journalism. But while our journalism is free to read; it isn't free to report, edit, publish and deliver.

To sustain our mission over the long term, we've had to be innovative and think differently. For example, last year over 20 local Newsroom Partners pledged more than $70,000 to support the solutions journalism work of our team, recognizing the site's importance and impact in the community.

Thanks for reading Richland Source and for all of your support. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to either Jay or myself anytime. Our office number is 419-610-2100.

Support Our Journalism

Our content is free and always will be - but we rely on your support to sustain it.

I've lived in Richland Co. since 1990, married here, our children were born here. This is home. I have two books published on a passion topic, Ohio high school football. Others: Buckeyes, Cavs, Bengals, Reds, History, Disney.