Independent local journalism is important to people in north central Ohio, very important. We know this because nearly a thousand individuals, and now dozens of businesses and organizations, have opened their wallets to support it.
The support came largely on the strength of sentiment around the results of our solutions-oriented reporting, which you can read about in our annual report. The rigorous and challenging practice of Solutions Journalism is spreading. So much so that practitioners from across the country recently traveled to Mansfield to learn from one another and share ideas.
We're glad to be a small part of what's become a nationwide movement.
In a world where there are 47% fewer reporters working at 1,400 fewer newspapers, a tangible and fundamental re-thinking of how reporters do journalism is overdue. In our case, the support of members and Newsroom Partners (every single dollar goes to newsroom operations) helps secure independent local news coverage and involves people in the process of news gathering.
But we're not alone. Innovative, community-driven local news businesses are bubbling up all over the country. Ohio and Michigan are ground zero for this work.
In Akron, The Devil Strip covers arts and culture with a co-op ownership model. In Youngstown, Mahoning Matters sprung up from the ashes of the Youngstown Vindicator with the help of the Google News Initiative. Flint Beat is a bootstrapped non-profit that provides vital local journalism in Flint, Michigan.
Right now, the giants of the industry are in a race to grow larger in order to buy time and cut costs while they “transition to digital.” That will not be the road we travel.
The path we've chosen is one we can walk together with our readers and partners. That's largely due to the close relationships between our reporters and the community. We go to church together. We see each other at the grocery store. Local journalists and readers aren't cable news talking heads and an anonymous audience. We are human beings, and we see each other that way. There's something to that.
We are humbled by the support of our members and partners and simply cannot thank you enough. You have taken civic responsibility and engagement to a unique level. Our team will work every day to honor your commitment to local news, no matter what form it takes.