YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – People are still reeling after Friday’s announcement that The Vindicator will close in August. Among the groups affected are high school sports and the arts. The Youngstown School Board, which the newspaper has been critical of in the past, is also reacting.
“Every city needs a local paper,” said Youngstown School Board President Brenda Kimble.
It was about the nicest thing she had to say about The Vindicator.
The newspaper’s editorials have been critical of the board and its efforts to repeal House Bill 70, which created the district’s CEO position.
“Frankly, I blame it on the editors, the reason this paper’s closing,” Kimble said. “Nobody wants to buy the papers because of the negativity.”
Cardinal Mooney Football Coach PJ Fecko sees it from a different perspective.
“It’s a big blow to young people who play sports in our area,” he said.
Fecko said people will still be able to follow high school football because it’s covered by other media, but he’s concerned about other sports.
“I think it’s going to be difficult for folks to follow sports like golf, like track and like bowling. I think the footballs, and the basketballs, and the softballs and even soccer will do better.”
“The Vindicator came over and did a story on us,” said Todd Hancock, co-owner of Easy Street Productions.
He held a framed copy of a Vindicator story done a year into the group’s run of Pump Boys and Dinettes.
“I think that this town has lost, probably — at least the arts community — has lost one of its most valuable allies because The Vindicator was always there,” Hancock said.
“It was a newspaper that I thought did a wonderful job in our area,” Fecko said. “Treated myself fairly and the sport of football fairly.”
“You send in your press release, even if it’s a week or two before your show. You could pretty much count on The Vindicator putting it in there and saying, ‘This is what’s coming up this weekend, check it out,'” Hancock said.
“I stopped buying The Vindicator years ago, as many other people, because of the biases in the paper,” Kimble said. “Sometimes they think one person’s money doesn’t matter but when you have a trickle-down effect like this, then this is what happens.”
The Youngstown Press Club and the Rotary Club of Youngstown will be holding a community forum on The Vindicator’s closure. It’s happening Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Tyler History Center in downtown Youngstown.
The Youngstown Press Club said it wants “to actively engage the community to provide additional information and ideas for the future.”