Signal Cleveland

We are thrilled to announce that we’ve hired six new staff members at Signal Cleveland. Five beat reporters and a multimedia producer will be joining the newsroom in October. This dynamic team, a mix of award-winning veteran journalists and new, emerging talent, joins our current team of Greater Clevelanders with a track record of spirited innovation in journalism and community work. Meet the newest team members of Signal Cleveland:

Health reporter Candice Wilder

Health reporter Candice Wilder 

Candice, a Cleveland Documenter since 2020, is a freelance writer whose reporting and digital media work have appeared in The Daily Beast, VICE, Cleveland Magazine and elsewhere. She has written about health, equity and social justice. Candice is looking forward to learning and working with everyone in the newsroom.

Multimedia director Jeff Haynes 

Jeff, a longtime producer and Cleveland resident, will be working to bring stories to life with videos and animation. He comes to us from Ideastream Public Media, where he oversaw on-air promotion, digital content, and design. Jeff has launched multiple digital series that have led to national distribution and five Emmys.

Government reporter Nick Castele 

Nick also joins us from the world of public radio, where he has ten years’ experience covering politics and government in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Last year he produced and hosted After Jackson: Cleveland’s Next Mayor, an Ideastream Public Media podcast on the Cleveland mayoral race. He has also covered breaking news, opioid lawsuits and elections nationally for NPR.

Economics reporter Olivera Perkins

Olivera, an award-winning journalist, covered labor, employment and workforce issues for several years at The Plain Dealer. She broke the story in 2013 of a food drive held for workers at a Walmart, who made too little to afford Thanksgiving dinner. Olivera has received state and national awards for her coverage and believes the sweet spot of high-impact journalism is combining strong storytelling with data analysis.

K-12 Education reporter Paul Rochford

Paul, a former City Year Cleveland AmeriCorps member based in a charter school, will be covering K-12 education. Paul joins us from Cleveland Documenters, where he focused on creating infographics and civic tech to make public information more accessible. Paul is also a musician, photographer and graphic designer.

Criminal Justice reporter Stephanie Casanova

Stephanie, who joins Signal Cleveland from Chicago, where she covered criminal justice and breaking news at the Chicago Tribune, is a bilingual journalist who is passionate about storytelling that is inclusive and reflects the diversity of the communities she covers. She has been a reporter and copy editor for local newspapers in South Dakota, Kansas and Arizona. Stephanie is also a Maynard 200 alumni, a Maynard Institute for Journalism Education training program for journalists of color that focuses on making newsrooms more equitable, diverse and anti-racist. She was born and raised in Tucson, Ariz., the proud daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico and Peru.

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.