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“The Cut” is a weekly reporters notebook-type essay by an Ideastream Public Media content creator, reflecting on the news and on life in Northeast Ohio. What exactly does “The Cut” mean? It's a throwback to the old days of using a razor blade to cut analog tape. In radio lingo, we refer to sound bites as “cuts.” So think of these behind-the-scene essays as “cuts” from Ideastream's producers.

The Ohio Newsroom seeks to highlight what connects us

Students take grapes from a fruit and vegetable bar inside the Parma Senior High School cafeteria on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022.
Ryan Loew
Ideastream Public Media
Students take grapes from a fruit and vegetable bar inside the Parma Senior High School cafeteria on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022.

In my five or so years of living in Ohio, I’ve heard a lot of arguments about what part of the state is superior. Is Columbus a cowtown? Is Cincinnati a Kentucky city in all but name? Is Cleveland the mistake on the lake? No, no and no, but the debate and rivalry rages on.

(My cop-out answer: Central Ohio is best because it’s the easiest starting point to visit the rest.)

As managing editor of The Ohio Newsroom, it’s my job to find stories all over the state. Stories like the impact of child hunger on their education.

My team will report not just from the state’s major cities, but from smaller gems around Ohio from Bucyrus to Portsmouth. Another part of the job? Finding connective tissue — the struggles and solutions that Ohioans are grappling with no matter where they live.

A collaborative story by two Ohio public radio stations this week does just that.

After pandemic-era waivers expired, parents, teachers and administrators had to figure out how to get kids fed at school. Participation in public schools’ free or reduced lunch program dropped significantly and school lunch debt rose.

It’s a problem that cuts across the state, so Ideastream Public Media’s Conor Morris, in Cleveland, teamed up with WYSO’s Alejandro Figueroa, in Dayton, to see how different school districts are affected and what solutions they’re pursuing.

Ohio isn’t a monolith — the Bengals-Browns divide (or Great Lakes Brewing vs. Seventh Son vs. Rhinegeist divide) will show you that. But so many of our challenges and joys are shared. The Ohio Newsroom, with all of the public radio stations across the Buckeye state, will bring you stories that highlight the commonalities and differences that make Ohio what it is.

Clare Roth is an Iowa native who now calls Ohio home. After stints talk show producing and news magazine hosting, she's found her true passion in editing others' work.