Documenters Community of Practice

It’s hard to believe, but we’ll be six months old on May 15. Thanks to the Signal Cleveland team of reporters, editors and community listeners and hundreds of Cleveland Documenters, we are now reaching more than 200,000 Greater Clevelanders online and in person every month – and tens of thousands more via our partners at WOVU 95.9 FM and WKYC-TV.

We produce news and information that listens to residents and strives to make a difference in the lives of Greater Clevelanders. Our model is new. It’s innovative. And it works. 

By the numbers

Pieces of news & information published327
Public meetings documented142
Community gatherings, trainings and office hours hosted35
Since our launch on November 15, 2022

A few highlights from our work

Our Signal Crossroads Special Projects combine the curiosity and community expertise of Cleveland Documenters with the accountability work of Signal reporters for a unique collaboration. Recently, Documenters’ questions about casino revenue legislation on City Council agendas led to a series showing how council directs millions of those discretionary dollars.

Student Notebook: AP African American Studies

YouTube video

When reporter Paul Rochford heard about the pilot AP African American Studies course at Lakewood High School, he knew he wanted to hear from students. Lakewood High School is one of about 60 schools in the country piloting the AP African American Studies course this year. It becomes available to all U.S. high schools in fall 2024. The course has been the focus of a lot of public attention nationally, particularly after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration sent a letter to the College Board saying the course had “no educational value.” The Lakewood High students saw it differently. Check out our Student Notebook here. 

Signal Cleveland On Air

Side Hustle: Mikael Ellis works four jobs focused on the LGBTQ+ community (video)

By Jeff Haynes

Mikael Ellis has purposely decided to work at businesses that either primarily cater to LGBTQ+ patrons or have a large clientele from this community.

YouTube video

To reach as many Greater Clevelanders as possible, we are airing an audio version of Documenters’ Public Meeting Briefs so more people can learn about what is happening at local government meetings. Find it on our podcast platforms. 

Cleveland Documenters

Cleveland Documenters have covered more than 142 public meetings since we launched in November 2022. Documenter Marian Bryant recently covered the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) Advisory Board meeting, where officials shared their struggle to find emergency placements for children in need of foster homes. We shared a brief about her coverage on social media. It took off, with hundreds of Greater Clevelanders jumping into the conversation. One Signal Cleveland reader asked about becoming a foster parent; another connected her to the appropriate training to get certified. 

Editor-in-Chief (she/her)
Lila is the founding editor-in-chief of Signal Cleveland, the Ohio Local News Initiative's Cleveland newsroom. Lila, who has experience in community building and journalism, led the launch of Cleveland Documenters in 2020. Formerly associate director at Neighborhood Connections, a Cleveland-based organization that has done groundbreaking work building community networks, Lila has been a newspaper reporter, a student-journalism advisor and a freelance news producer. Born and raised on the southeast side of Cleveland, Lila is a first-generation college graduate with degrees from Columbia University.