About a year ago I first met with the directors of States Newsroom about bringing a new state government nonprofit news outlet to Ohio. What a year it’s been.
Since that first meeting, I was offered and accepted a job I consider a dream come true, named the outlet the Ohio Capital Journal (a h/t to the old Ohio State Journal), worked with our fantastic digital team to design our website, and hired a team of extraordinarily talented and dedicated reporters.
We launched the Capital Journal on Dec. 3, 2019, with myself and reporters Susan Tebben and Tyler Buchanan. Since then we’ve been fortunate enough to bring on reporters Jake Zuckerman and Marty Schladen, as well as regular commentary contributors Rob Moore, Daniel Skinner, Harlan Spector, Kevin Williams and Terry Smith. This summer, Maggie Prosser from Ohio University was the Capital Journal’s inaugural intern.
When we launched, I wrote an introduction column setting out our goals: “The role and responsibility of journalists is to remain steadfast in pursuit of truth — uncovering facts, exposing lies and hypocrisy, and being the eyes and ears of the people in the halls of power, holding our elected representatives and public officials accountable. It is also our role as journalists to lift up the voices of the people outside of power, to share their stories and highlight the issues and struggles they face.
“We are free to readers and free of advertising: no surveys, no pop-ups, no paywalls. Our news stories and commentary are also free to republish with proper attribution. We are dedicated to the highest ethical standards of journalism and to highlighting good journalism from other publications big and small around our state.”
Predictably, as with any new venture that comes on the scene, folks had their questions: Who are we? What are we doing? Is this legitimate? All for free? So how are you funded?
We are a team of journalists with a combined seven decades of news experience working hard every day to provide the best state government and policy coverage possible for Ohioans, both on our website and social media as well as by being republished in other news outlets across Ohio.
We do this to provide quality news content for the people, but also to help supplement coverage in community newspapers and publications around the Buckeye State as we believe deeply in the critical role local journalism plays for our communities.
I’m proud to say that in the nine months since launching, the Capital Journal has become a member of the Ohio News Media Association and is having articles republished regularly by newspapers and websites across the state including News Channel 5 WEWS in Cleveland, Cleveland.com, the Sandusky Register, Columbus Underground, the BG Independent, the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, The Pomeroy Daily Sentinel, The Bryan Times, The Highland County Press, The Athens Messenger, The Athens NEWS, The Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Urbana Daily Citizen, Ogden newspapers around Ohio, The Real Deal Press, Richland Source, The Findlay Courier, TiffinOhio.net, Microsoft News and others. Our work has been cited in RawStory and Esquire.
The concept for the Capital Journal is simple: As traditional newspapers have struggled in recent decades, reporters have been pulled out of state capitals. That means there are fewer eyes on state government, with real consequences for real people. We are founded on the belief that citizens need access to high-quality, non-partisan reporting on the crucial issues of our time.
We are funded by a combination of reader support and States Newsroom, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to providing leading reporters and editors with the resources they need to cover their communities.
In keeping with industry standards for nonprofit journalism, States Newsroom discloses all donors who have contributed more than $500 on its website. It receives no corporate underwriting, nor does it accept donations from any political organizations. Editorial decisions are made by journalists alone.
OCJ journalists adhere to the ethics guidelines of the Society of Professional Journalists and the National Press Photographers Association. While those ethics provide a foundation, we also adhere and borrow liberally from the practices embraced by the Associated Press, ProPublica, The Center for Investigative Reporting, NPR and the Washington Post.
At the Capital Journal, our coverage is primarily focused on policy, and the impact of policy on Ohioans’ lives. While we do touch on politics in our coverage, we are far more interested in the consequences of policy and stories of impact. We do not run endorsements, and we do not run political commentary from candidates or elected officials.
We are not reporting for any interest other than the public interest. We consider our duty one of service, to the truth and to the people. We are incredibly humbled by and grateful for the tremendous amount of support we’ve received from readers as well as other journalists and publications across the state.
I want to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to all of you, and to say, with a full heart, thank you. Your support makes what we do possible, and we will continue charging forward, reporting for the people.