Celebrating one year of the Ohio Capital Journal

What a difference a year makes, eh?

When we launched the Ohio Capital Journal on Dec. 4, 2019, we knew there was a big appetite for strong, incisive coverage of our state government and its impact on our lives.

We had no idea the coming year would be of such critical importance to the health and economic well-being of so many Ohioans, or that so many of our elected officials would lay so bare the nature of their politics and priorities during such an important and devastating time.

Our duty to hold those in the halls of power accountable for their words and deeds, and to lift up the voices of people outside power to share their stories and struggles, took on a new gravity in 2020, a year where so far more than 6,700 Ohioans have lost their lives to a virus that has infected more than 447,000 in the Buckeye State.

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis that has brutally tested the mettle of us as a people, and perhaps more importantly our elected leaders, sadly revealing many to be severely lacking.

Everyday Ohioans have been dealing with furloughs, loss of work, unpaid bills piling up, sickness and a devastating disease causing thousands of families shattering grief, rampant food insecurity, debilitating lack of access to child care, wild uncertainty in both primary and secondary education, a desperate every day hustle to save their small businesses, annual traditions being turned on their heads, the loneliness of isolation, the injustice of an unjust justice system, and the fever pitch of an angry, toxic public discourse that pits Americans against one another by the millions.

Meanwhile, Ohio’s majority lawmakers have been awash in the biggest bribery scandal in state political history, launching quixotic attempts to impeach the governor, picking fights with the governor over health orders, taking to Facebook and other social media to spread misinformation and disparage safety protocols, refusing to exercise basic public health safety at the Statehouse, pretending community measures meant to save lives are the foulest tyranny, stoking our toxic public discourse, and focusing on issues like expanding access to guns, restricting abortion access and turning protestors into felons.

The governor has been caught up trying to save lives while dealing with an endless stream of actively harmful misinformation pouring out of members of his own party including the president and many Ohio legislators, dealing with the lobbying of business and professional associations, and coping with an inflamed political base villainizing him and his administration for any action taken against the pandemic.

The Ohio Capital Journal has been reporting for the people, doing our best to help Ohioans make sense of all this nonsense.

Since launching, the Capital Journal has become a member of the Ohio News Media Association and the Ohio Legislative Correspondents Association, and is having articles republished regularly by newspapers and websites across the state.

Capital Journal articles have been republished by Cleveland.com, The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer, News Channel 5 WEWS in Cleveland, the Sandusky Register, the Cleveland Scene, the Cincinnati City Beat, Columbus Underground, the BG Independent, the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune, The Pomeroy Daily SentinelThe Bryan Times, The Highland County PressThe Athens MessengerThe Athens NEWS, The Gallipolis Daily Tribune, The Urbana Daily CitizenOgden newspapers around OhioThe Real Deal PressRichland Source, The Findlay CourierTiffinOhio.netMicrosoft News and others. Our work has been cited in RawStory and Esquire.

Since we launched one year ago with myself and reporters Susan Tebben and Tyler Buchanan, we’ve been fortunate enough to bring on reporters Jake Zuckerman and Marty Schladen, as well as regular commentary contributors Rob MooreDaniel SkinnerHarlan SpectorKevin Williams and Terry Smith. This summer, Maggie Prosser from Ohio University was the Capital Journal’s inaugural intern. We’ve had more than 200 different contributors with a wide variety of backgrounds publish commentary and articles at OCJ.

Dedicated to the highest ethical standards of journalism, all our effort moves toward the same goal: to inform Ohioans and arm them with the power of knowledge.

We are incredibly honored by and grateful for the tremendous amount of support we’ve received from readers as well as other journalists and publications across the state.

We believe deeply in the critical role and responsibility of the Fourth Estate, never more than in times of such peril. We consider our duty one of public service, to the truth and to the people.

Our mission may be one-year old today, but we’ve only just begun.

THE MORNING NEWSLETTER
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David C. DeWitt
David C. DeWitt is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience covering Ohio politics and policy. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS and Plunderbund.com covering topics such as education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, government, business, labor, energy, environment and social issues. His work has also appeared in Government Executive, the Columbus Dispatch, Girlfriends magazine, Bleacher Report and the Ashtabula Star Beacon, among others.