Earlier this month, Youngstown, Ohio’s daily newspaper The Vindicator announced it would cease publication at the end of August. The move would leave Youngstown as the first U.S. city without its own newspaper.
Since then, ProPublica announced it will support an investigative reporter based in Youngstown as part of its Local Reporting Network.
Today, McClatchy announced a media effort in the city, via The Compass Experiment, an initiative launched in association with Google.
The Compass Experiment’s goal is to build three sustainable local digital news models in small cities around the country. It will officially launch in Youngstown.
“We saw an opportunity to help a community with a rich heritage and distinct identity find a path forward for local news,” Mandy Jenkins, general manager of The Compass Experiment, stated. “We are on the ground now working with people in the community to set up a digital news outlet that will launch in the fall.”
It will be staffed by a team recruited in Youngstown, with an eye to working with other local, regional and national news outlets that have expressed support for the city.
In a post published today on The Compass Experiment's Medium page and Google’s The Keyword blog, Jenkins wrote: “At first blush, Youngstown doesn’t seem like the sort of place where an experimental digital news project would put down stakes. It is a shrinking city in a region that has been suffering financially for decades, but it is also an area that has a distinct local identity and a need for a public watchdog now more than ever.”
Two more communities set to receive digital-only local news operations will be announced in the coming months.
McClatchy retains editorial control and ownership of the newly created outlets as part of The Compass Experiment.