The startup nonprofit news organization welcomes veteran journalists Henry Gomez and Debra Adams Simmons, and Columbus nonprofit leader Tom Katzenmeyer as board chair
September 14, 2022 – The Ohio Local News Initiative today announced the addition of new board members, in the latest expansion of the nonprofit news organization, which aims to serve residents across Ohio with the local news they need.
Tom Katzenmeyer, president and CEO of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, has joined the organization as board chair; Henry Gomez, senior national political reporter at NBC News, Ohio native and long-time Cleveland-area resident, as vice chair’ and Debra Adams Simmons, executive editor of history and culture at National Geographic, recently named vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for National Geographic Media, and previously editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal, has joined as a board member. Dale Anglin, vice president of programs at the Cleveland Foundation, will serve as a board observer, and Mike Curtin, former head of the Columbus Dispatch, will serve as a senior advisor.
The new board members and advisors bring a wide breadth of journalism, media, and nonprofit experience in Ohio to the organization. They join existing board members Tim Tramble, president and CEO of St. Luke’s Foundation, Doug Ulman, CEO of Pelotonia, and Michael Ouimette, senior vice president, strategy & startups, at the American Journalism Project.
“Communities across Ohio have experienced a massive loss in local journalism resources. Our goal as the board of this organization will be to continue building momentum for the movement to replenish those resources, and build a resilient local press to bring people together with quality, independent, information and to make our state a better place for all,” Katzenmeyer said.
“The Ohio Local News Initiative represents one of the country’s most exciting efforts to meet an urgent demand for local journalism in cities like Cleveland,” Gomez said. “Given the focus on quality while prioritizing community needs, jobs in our newsrooms will be among the best journalism jobs anywhere.”
“This important collaboration will make Cleveland’s local news landscape even more robust,” Adams Simmons said. “This innovative nonprofit news model is at the center of a national movement to strengthen local news. The Ohio Local News Initiative will be driven by the needs and interests of the community, addressing critical issues and amplifying local voices.”
The Ohio Local News Initiative, which has support from the Cleveland Foundation, the American Journalism Project, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Visible Voice Charitable Fund, St. Luke’s Foundation, the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Center for Community Solutions, and others, is gearing up to launch Signal Cleveland, a local news publication serving Greater Cleveland this fall. Signal Cleveland will increase the volume of original, in-depth, non-partisan reporting in the region and support the efforts of Cleveland news outlets and community initiatives to make critical information available to all who need it. Information will be available in numerous formats across multiple platforms, and will be free to access. Over time, the organization plans to support a network of independent local newsrooms across the state.
Signal Cleveland, which announced its leadership team over the summer, has been hiring for almost a dozen newsroom roles ahead of its launch. In addition to doing hard hitting accountability journalism, the newsroom will take an innovative approach to local journalism, with a community reporting model in which it will work with residents to help set priorities, and train and pay Clevelanders to become information connectors in their communities, gathering requests and questions from neighbors. Job postings for editing and reporting positions and more information about the project are now available at signalcleveland.org/jobs.
About the Ohio Local News Initiative
The Ohio Local News Initiative is a network of independent, community-led, nonprofit newsrooms, starting with Signal Cleveland, with plans to produce high-quality accountability journalism while employing an innovative model for working directly with residents to be responsive to their information needs. The new organization will be one of the largest local nonprofit news startups in the country when it launches later this year, with more than $6 million in seed funding from a coalition of local and national organizations and incubation support from the American Journalism Project.
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