My name is Helen Maynard. I’m the news editor at Signal Cleveland. I’m taking a moment to introduce myself and talk about our newsroom’s video and audio work.
As you know, Signal Cleveland weaves community with journalism. Cleveland Documenters, a community of 650 Greater Clevelanders, keep an eye on local government, and our Signal reporters answer questions that come up in meetings and explain how sometimes-complex processes work.
Connecting community voices with news coverage makes a better-informed city.
That’s what brought me to Signal Cleveland. It’s my dream job, but it took me a minute to get here.
My background is in TV news, which took me from Cleveland all the way to ABC News in New York. I’ve loved television news since I was a kid. Hearing the words and seeing them matched with the pictures made me feel closer to the stories.
In elementary school, when my friends and I walked home for lunch, they watched cartoons. My grandmother and I watched the 12 o’clock news.
I got my first journalism job in college—I worked at Community Television Network, Ann Arbor’s citizen-run television station. (Yes, I went to the University of Michigan, That School Up North, but please don’t hold that against me.) Students and community members ran the studios, covered city government, and hosted talk shows featuring community leaders, artists and discussions of local issues.
I’ve always thought news coverage needs to include more residents’ voices and people telling their own stories.
I went back to Ann Arbor in 2014 to take part in the Knight Wallace Fellowship, a chance for journalists to spend a year focused on a topic or story idea. I took a look at the loss of local news coverage due to shrinking newsrooms and how that impacted communities. Later, my long-held interest in bringing more resident voices into news coverage found a home at Signal Cleveland.
Now, we’re increasing our commitment to visual storytelling–to connect with Cleveland-area residents, old and new, right where they are. That is something I will be working on in partnership with Multimedia Director Jeff Haynes over the next couple of months.
Since our launch, the Signal Cleveland team has been telling stories in multiple formats using photos, illustrations and videos.
Education Reporter Paul Rochford and Audience Manager Camile Renner took us along for the ride as the Glenville High School football team celebrated their state championship win—creating a photobook for all to share in the joy.
Health Reporter Candice Wilder and Jeff Haynes illustrated the challenges Cleveland officials face dealing with the city’s lead problem.
Illustrator and comic creator John G’s drawings bring to life accessibility issues in housing and music venues in the city.
Going forward, we will share even more information in a variety of formats so that Signal Cleveland finds you in the right place at just the right time. Check out our website for the videos and podcasts we’ve produced so far. Look for more coming soon.
Would love to hear your ideas about what you want to hear/see in local news coverage. You can find me at email@example.com.