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Ideastream is expanding its daily coverage of Ohio. Here's how and why

 Blue and black logo for "Today From The Ohio Newsroom"
The Ohio Newsroom
L-R: Kendall Crawford, Clare Roth, Erin Gottsacker

Ideastream Public Media is expanding its coverage of news from around the state starting Monday. "Today From The Ohio Newsroom" highlights stories from outside Ohio's major metropolitan areas. You'll hear the stories daily on "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on WKSU. Clare Roth, Managing Editor of The Ohio Newsroom, spearheaded the effort. She speaks with Ideastream's "Morning Edition" host Amy Eddings.

Clare, I've often had stories from The Ohio Newsroom in my newscasts on "Morning Edition." Let's start first with, what is The Ohio Newsroom exactly?

Yeah, it's an interesting answer because it's both a collaboration between the public radio stations in the state, including Ideastream, as well as those in Cincinnati and Columbus and Dayton and Xenia and Youngstown and Toledo. But then it's also a original content team. So it's myself and Erin Gottsacker and Kendall Crawford, and we report original stories in addition to sharing the stories that everyone around the state is already reporting from their public radio newsrooms.

What drove the creation of "Today From The Ohio Newsroom"?

Yeah, "Today From The Ohio Newsroom" is brand new journalism that Ideastream listeners haven't heard before. When all of the stations got together to think up The Ohio Newsroom and really formalize the collaboration that they'd already been doing for years, they decided, "Okay, we need to make sure we are adding to what we are already doing." So it's not just that the stations are stronger together, but it's also that they want to create new content and get to areas that are chronically under-covered. So myself, Kendall Crawford and Erin Gottsacker are focused on the areas outside the three big Cs (Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati) and Dayton, really reporting stories that affect the whole state and that connect to listeners across the state, but that might not be from their exact city.

What are, or where are, the biggest news deserts in Ohio?

It's, it's a big question, and it's a tough question to answer. When they said, "Well, we want you to tackle news deserts," it wasn't like, "Well, I'm just going to post someone in Steubenville, and that'll be that." Because they really exist all over the state. We've seen so many papers close down. I mean, Youngstown really stands out with how The Vindicator changed in the last couple of years. But even a place like Toledo, which is one of the top five biggest cities in Ohio, they are having a pretty big labor issue argument between the union at the Toledo Blade and management, and that has really endangered their local news. So, you know, outside of the cities, you see news deserts truly across the state and that means a lot of story opportunities for us, which is great. But it's also, of course, very sad to see these communities not get the news that they deserve on a regular basis.

So, Clare, what's in the works? What stories can people expect to hear next week and going forward?

We have a lot of stories I'm very excited about coming down the pike. In the first week, you'll hear stories about how companies in Mahoning Valley are addressing the labor shortage by hiring people with developmental disabilities. You'll hear stories about a mental health initiative that's specifically reaching out in barber shops with mostly Black clientele in order to reach an underserved population there. You'll hear stories about the last washboard factory in America, which happens to be in Logan, Ohio. And then into the future, you'll hear all sorts of stories about, you know, the economy, staffing shortages at veterans health facilities, a boom in beekeeping in the state, just stories from truly all over Ohio on all sorts of topics that you just might not have heard otherwise.

"Today From The Ohio Newsroom" stories will air weekdays at 6:45 a.m. on "Morning Edition" and 5:44 p.m. on "All Things Considered," beginning Monday, June 12, 2023. Find stories online at ideastream.org.

Expertise: Hosting live radio, writing and producing newscasts, Downtown Cleveland, reporting on abortion, fibersheds, New York City subway system, coffee