The Vindicator ceasing operations last August marked the end of a 150-year old publication, leaving the city of Youngstown, Ohio without a daily newspaper.
Then in October, Mahoning Matters was launched filling the gap left by the previous publication. The site is part of the Compass Experiment, an initiative co-founded by McClatchy and Google, to explore sustainable business models for local news.
It is also the first of three sites to launch under the Compass Experiment, followed by the Longmont Leader, launched in May in Longmont, Colo.
Even with the pandemic, Mahoning Matters just celebrated its six-month anniversary.
When it launched, the site included five former Vindicator staffers, namely Mark Sweetwood, editor; Jeremy Harper, content manager; reporters Justin Dennis and Jess Hardin; and Mark Eckert, business executive (who passed away in March from the coronavirus).
Mandy Jenkins, general manager for the Compass Experiment says:
“(Eckert) was absolutely integral to us getting a foothold in the local business community because he had great relationships that he leveraged to get us into the conversation. His passing from complications of COVID-19, I think, really gave our team a sense of purpose in how we tell this story. We have seen the virus’ effects in a very personal way and that changes you.”
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