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About Us


Mahoning Matters is a civic-minded community news source for the city of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. We were founded in October 2019 with the mission to tell the stories that matter in Mahoning County and empower citizens to engage in their community with a focus on solutions.

 

Who We Are

Mark Sweetwood, Editor

Justin Dennis, Reporter

Jess Hardin, Reporter

Ellen Wagner, Reporter

Jeremy Harper, Content Manager

Thea Nixon, Business Development & Community Partnerships

Mahoning Matters also employs multiple freelance contributing writers and photographers. 

 

Our Values

Above all, Mahoning Matters values our audience's expectation to be well-informed and engaged with vital journalism that doesn't stop at "who, what, when and where" but focuses on the "how and why." Our reporting is honest, our methods are transparent and we aim to write for the Mahoning Valley and for people who love it and its vibrant and diverse communities.

We interact with readers, not just via email — and we read every tip and Facebook comment — but through virtual and in-person meetings. We are independent gatherers of news that fuels apolitical reports and information. We want to be viewed as inclusive and reflective of our various communities in our work. The Mahoning Matters team values integrity, honesty, personal excellence, continual self-improvement and mutual respect. As such, we strive to do our best to acknowledge and correct our mistakes. 

 

What We Do

We endeavor to fairly report on undercovered topics and hold powerful people and institutions to account. We pursue tips from readers and stories that might not otherwise be told.

We also aim to provide useful and accessible information to help Mahoning Valley residents navigate their lives, especially in times of crisis.

We work to advocate for transparency in our local and state governments so we can deliver nuanced reporting that can make a difference in the Mahoning Valley.

 

How We’ll Do It

We talk with our readers in multiple forums and work to be accessible through in-person and virtual meetings, surveys and community events. We read every tip, Facebook comment and email.

We listen to our readers so they can have a voice in the stories we cover and discuss how we cover those stories, especially when they are difficult or controversial.  We seek to continue to grow our audience and build a community of loyal readers, supporters and tipsters and meet our audience members where they are by diversifying our platforms for sharing news from current to emerging platforms.

Our staff lives in the Mahoning Valley. We aim to have a staff with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints and contributions from freelancers and community members who have a multitude of perspectives to ensure Mahoning Matters reflects the Mahoning Valley community. 

 

How We’re Funded

Our ultimate goal is to be a self-sustaining news organization that remains free for all.

To do that, we aim to build a community of loyal readers, business supporters and institutional funders who will make up our diverse sources of revenue. We will always be transparent about where we get our money.  

We currently have startup funding from Google News Initiative’s Local Experiments Project and are owned and operated by McClatchy, a local media company with 30 newsrooms in communities across the U.S. 

All editorial decisions are made locally by the Mahoning Matters team. All of our revenue remains in the Mahoning Valley and goes to fund local reporters, editors and the production of our website, email newsletters and events.

 

What We Are

  • We provide accessible information to help readers make informed decisions; we provide entry points for community engagement; we provide useful and digestible information in times of confusion and crisis; and we inspire civic engagement.
  • We listen, share and give the community a voice in what we cover and investigate. We aren't afraid of hard conversations or powerful people or institutions. We hold them to account and advocate for transparency in local government. And we are honest about our mistakes and seek to remedy them quickly.
  • We live in the Youngstown community. We aim to write for the Mahoning Valley and its vibrant, unique and diverse communities. We are non-partisan, independent journalists in an era in which that often seems impossible. We also believe in facts, research, multiple viewpoints and expertise. 
 

Corrections

It is Mahoning Matters’ policy to acknowledge errors promptly and correct them in a transparent fashion. Mistakes should be called to the attention of Editor Mark Sweetwood at info@mahoningmatters.com.
 

Comments Policy  

Mahoning Matters encourages lively and civil discussion on a selection of stories published to MahoningMatters.com. We aim to provide a platform for people of the Mahoning Valley to express their views and build a strong community.  

All comments will be moderated before being published, generally during business hours. Comments will be closed at the discretion of the editor. If a problematic comment slips through moderation, users can alert our moderators by flagging the comment. 

Personal attacks, profanity, off-topic, racist, sexist or other discriminatory comments will not be published. Spam, trolling behavior and libelous statements or comments that include false or unsubstantiated allegations will not be published. 

Readers must be logged into the site to post a comment. Usernames that include offensive or abusive words will be blocked. 

For more information about comments, visit our full Community Guidelines.

 

Community and Social Media Contributions 

When it comes to using your photos, videos, comments from social media and other contribution methods, Mahoning Matters follows the  Online News Association’s Social Newsgathering Ethics Code.

This means that we will:

  • Publish content you own only with your expressed permission. If you contribute photos, videos or comments to us on our site, on our social media channels or using a designated hashtag, we will accept your submission as consent to publish with credit. 

  • Credit the content you contribute as you wish.

  • Seek to verify the authenticity of content contributed from the community or obtained via social media before publishing or distributing it, holding it to the same standards as we would our own work. 

  • Be transparent as to how we have obtained and verified content.

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