Join one of the largest nonprofit news initiatives in the country
In 2021, a coalition of Ohio organizations and community leaders partnered with the American Journalism Project to launch a network of independent, community-led, nonprofit newsrooms. Created out of a study that found many residents were not getting critical local information, the mission is to ensure that all Ohioans have the local news they need.
The first of these nonprofit newsrooms is Signal Cleveland. Our newsroom increases the volume of relevant, original local reporting available to all residents of Greater Cleveland, with a focus on key coverage areas and issues that residents said are important to them, including government accountability, economic development, health and education.
Signal Cleveland values and key practices
We value diverse perspectives, we believe everyone has talents and skills, and we use power-sharing community-building practices to create an environment that values all voices. We are creating a future that democratizes journalism, and our primary work is building trust with the community as we strive to produce journalism side by side with the community.
We’re committed to building an inclusive organization that represents the people and communities we serve. We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities.
- Move at the pace of community. We are accountable to community questions and interests and not to arbitrary deadlines.
- Flip the traditional news/civic information dynamic. Instead of civic information as a residual of news, we start with providing civic information and tools. Reporting flows from gathering and distributing that information.
- Hold and nurture accessible, informal spaces where everyone has a voice, power is shared, and people are able to step into civic life in a way that feels safe, fun and productive.
- Are a learning community, with space and easy on-ramps for every one of us to learn from each other, to grow, and to build power while also providing and connecting people with opportunities to go deeper.
Signal Cleveland’s guiding principles
- People are our greatest asset as an organization. Hiring and retaining people are also two of the hardest things to get right in any startup.
- We try in every way to create a diverse, equitable, inclusive workplace, which requires a hiring process that reflects this value; hiring of employees who believe in and live into it; and developing and maintaining a work culture that makes all people feel safe, welcome and able to thrive.
- We are endeavoring to achieve an ambitious vision of community-centered journalism—one for which there is no blueprint. We have an unprecedented opportunity to do it thanks to the support of seed funders, and to reach sustainability we are committed to demonstrating impact quickly. Startup work is tough and not for everyone. We aim to be as transparent as possible with all candidates about the work so they have the opportunity to decline if they don’t think it will be a fit.
- We will do everything we can to evaluate candidates on their ability to succeed in the roles we’re trying to fill, not on proxies (such as education) or attributes that are assumed to be associated with capability. This may translate to a more rigorous interviewing process than other organizations, and extra time set aside to help each individual candidate bring their best selves to the process (that’s why we offer optional office hours for interview prep).
- While skills and capabilities are important, values and cultural fits are just as important—both for the sake of the organization and for the candidates. Values and the ability to get along with others are included in hiring criteria. Hiring bad cultural fits can be demoralizing to entire teams, make it hard to work, and cause people to leave.
- To make up for structural inequities, we recruit until we have a minimum of 50% of competitive candidates at every stage of the hiring process who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color.
- We are constantly learning and improving; our hiring processes also evolve as best practices are tested and established.