Year in Review: Our top Ohio feature stories of 2020

There was no shortage of breaking news in 2020, from the governor’s coronavirus press conferences to the late-night lame duck sessions at the Ohio Statehouse that closed out the year.

In between, the Ohio Capital Journal published many feature stories which took deep dives into issues affecting the lives of everyday Ohioans. We wrote about health inequities facing the Black community, the response to COVID-19 in rural Appalachia and the efforts to address poverty amid all the year’s challenges. 

Here is a selection of OCJ feature stories published throughout the year 2020:

January

Ohio Black Maternal Health Caucus sets 2020 goals for reproductive rights, health – Susan Tebben

“We want women and girls to truly understand that they are valued.”

February

Manufacturing in Midwest purple states has seen ups and downs on Trump’s watch – Susan Tebben and Nick Manes, part of States Newsroom’s Purple States Project

While manufacturing in Ohio has edged up slightly over the past 10 years, the Buckeye State is currently forecasted to lose 40,000 manufacturing industry jobs by 2026.

Dr. Amy Acton addresses reporters at a news conference earlier this year. Capital Journal photo by Jake Zuckerman

March

‘Woefully unprepared:’ How small-scale testing capabilities mar Ohio’s COVID-19 response – Jake Zuckerman

A bungled test kit in Ohio gave the virus a head-start in February.

April

COVID-19 in Appalachia: Communities coming together while staying apart – Susan Tebben and Tyler Buchanan, part of a series detailing the effects of COVID-19 on Appalachian Ohio. 

“I would like to think this would be an eye-opening moment for everyone to realize that all of us … we’ve always been in this together.”

May

The grim calculus behind Ohio’s economic reopening – Marty Schladen

“I don’t think many people think we can keep this economy shut down for a year or more. The social consequences and health consequences would be astronomical.”

A sign advertising protective face masks is taped in the window of a coronavirus pop-up store. Photo by Samuel Corum | Getty Images.

June

Ohio faces second year with no executions – Marty Schladen

The delays raise the question: Will the death chamber at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility ever be used again in a state that has executed the eighth-most people in the modern era?

July

‘I just feel so powerless.’ Ohio teachers fear returning to class – Tyler Buchanan

“I want to go back to work. I just don’t want to die doing it.”

12 year old girl wearing a reusable, protective face mask in classroom while working on school work at her desk. Photo from Getty Images.

August

Should anyone be surprised by Householder’s downfall? – Terry Smith

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s dramatic tumble from power in July shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone who has followed his career since 1996 when he was first elected to represent southeast Ohio’s 78th House District.

 

September

How a state senator and 33 family members caught COVID-19 – Jake Zuckerman

“Slowly, one by one, we started getting the phone calls from each one of our family members.”

October

It was a tiny, blue demonstration in deep red Ohio. Then came the MAGA truck – Jake Zuckerman

“I think being visual with your beliefs helps, especially in a place like this.”

Alan Hoyle, left, adjusts the signs on his truck as Jeff Cline, right, holds up his Bible. The two arrived to Mount Vernon’s public square Oct. 24 to counter-program the weekly “Signs on the Square” event. Photo by Jake Zuckerman.

November

Agencies helping the poor fear a dreadful new year – Marty Schladen

“We’re going to do the best we can, but we’re really worried about what January looks like.”

December

Dontavius Jarrells is ready for the Ohio Statehouse – Tyler Buchanan

“I just kept saying to myself, ‘I’m not just doing this for myself, I’m doing this for a whole bunch of people. And I’ve got a lot of people on my back, and I need to take them with me.’”

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Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.