YOUNGSTOWN — NPR news anchor Korva Coleman’s message to Youngstown mirrored her reassurance to Americans who fear that today’s politics are unprecedented.
At an event Thursday night celebrating WYSU-FM's 50th anniversary, Coleman asked, "Is this a poisonous period in history? Absolutely.
"There have been other poisonous periods in history. People were sold."
The U.S. has come a long way from the days of slavery, Coleman said. And while "we still have a long way to go," immense progress has been made.
Coleman started at NPR in 1990 and now writes, produces and delivers national newscasts for NPR shows All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition. At Thursday's event, she spoke about her time at NPR covering national politics.
In a conversation with Mahoning Matters before her program, Coleman discussed recent blows the Valley has been dealt, including the closure of The Vindicator on Aug. 31. The newspaper is now published as an edition of the Ogden Newspapers-owned Tribune Chronicle in Warren
"The idea that the local paper could just die," said Coleman. "I don’t think I have an appropriate amount of words to express my shock.”
Especially in a city like Youngstown.
“People have heard of Youngstown,” said Coleman. "Youngstown is on the map."
The loss of The Vindicator makes clear that the way forward will require fresh ideas, Coleman said. .
“If that model was still working, The Vindicator would still be alive," Coleman said. "Something new must be done."
Forging new paths in local media requires highlighting voices previously excluded, from hiring to gathering sources for stories. Coleman described how, this past year, NPR has spearheaded an effort to more consciously include women as sources in stories.
Telling Youngstown's story and getting it right is crucial, especially as the 2020 presidential election nears. Youngstown area residents will likely see national outlets swoop in to cover happenings in the Mahoning Valley.
Coleman stressed the importance of local journalists telling Youngstown’s story.
“Complexity matters," Coleman said. "Complexity sometimes means shutting up and waiting for someone to tell the rest of the story. You can only get that through hearing local voices."