YSU communications head says area is ‘ground zero’ for reinventing journalism since Vindy closure

Local News

Adam Earnheardt believes the city is now part of something bigger

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – On June 28, it was announced that The Vindicator was closing. Seven weeks later, almost to the minute, it was announced that the Tribune Chronicle was buying The Vindicator’s name.

Both announcements rattled the Youngstown media market, which is still trying to figure out how it’ll all play out.

While looking for some answers, our reporters learned that Youngstown may be part of a great experiment.

Canfield’s Rachel Gobep is editor-in-chief of The Jambar, the student newspaper at Youngstown State University. When she heard The Vindicator was closing…

“I was heartbroken because, at the end of the day, there are a lot of Jambar staffers that end up going to The Vindicator.”

But then, the Tribune Chronicle announced it was buying The Vindicator’s name, along with its domain name and circulation lists.

“I’m very, very happy that The Vindicator name and legacy will live on, but at the same time it hurts our community because we’re not going to have that same local coverage like we used to,” Gobep said.

“I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s nice to know that name is going to live on,” said Dr. Adam Earnheardt.

Earnheardt chairs YSU’s Department of Communication. He has an interesting perspective on Youngstown’s changing media market.

“We have become, all of a sudden, ground zero for the reinvention of journalism,” he said.

Earnheardt says with the Tribune buying parts of The Vindicator — and with ProPublica and the McClatchy-Google Compass Project coming to town — Youngstown could be part of something big.

“That’s kind of cool, and when we can tell our students and people in this Valley that they’re part of something that could be special, is really great,” he said.

It may even lead to a different business model for journalism.

“To say that something like that may have started here is really great,” Earnheardt said.

Gobep says The Vindicator printed The Jambar, which was a concern.

“But there was that moment where I thought, ‘Is The Jambar going to go digital-only?'” she said.

But a printer was found in New Castle, and The Jambar will remain on paper.

As far as Gobep’s career choice of journalism…

“Sometimes I think, ‘Is this the right job for me? Did I go to college for the correct thing?’ But at the end of the day, I love telling people’s stories, and if I have to tell people’s stories in my basement or at a broadcast station or at a radio station, I will.”

In an effort to teach its students all aspects of journalism, YSU recently started what’s being called Jambar TV.

The set is up in Bliss Hall. It’ll be a half-hour news program that will tape on Thursdays and air on The Jambar’s website. It will be completely student-run.

The first taping is this Thursday, and it’ll be launched on Friday at noon.

Editor’s note: The Tribune Chronicle did not buy The Vindicator itself, it only bought The Vindicator’s name, its domain name and its circulation lists.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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