December 2019
Dear Friends,

Earlier this month, several Press Club members and board representatives attended a special City Club of Cleveland forum , "Reimagining Journalism: Bringing the Newsroom to the Community," during which the co-founders of City Bureau discussed their nonprofit news delivery initiative in Chicago begun in 2015 to bring " journalists and communities together in a collaborative spirit to produce media that is impactful, equitable and responsive to the public." The organization does this with a team of people from many different racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds who are employed as fellows or news documenters inside and outside City Bureau's public newsroom.

We find the reimagining of the newsroom as a classroom where the dominant narrative of the news itself is called into question particularly interesting and compelling. Co-founders Andrea Hart and Darryl Holliday call City Bureau an aspirational space and a participative experience. The Bureau isn't focused on breaking the news, bur rather contextualizing it in ways that will resonate with their news consumers. The goal is to center marginalized voices to rewrite the style guide for journalists. "It's a willingness to be uncomfortable and to be held accountable," Hart says.

Of course, this nonprofit model is very different from the subscription/advertising model that governs most mainstream media operations, but we think there may be some lessons to be learned from studying innovative approaches like City Bureau's. Special thanks to The City Club of Cleveland for offering this Reimagining Journalism series in partnership with the Cleveland Foundation. Learn more about City Bureau here .

Back by popular demand, The Press Club of Cleveland will once again host a Trivia Night for members and guests. Show off all your useless knowledge and win great prizes at a bar near you in early 2020. Get your team together now and look for the invitation in the next few weeks. Space is limited, so register quickly.

Amy McGahan, President
The Press Club of Cleveland
Ugly Sweaters, Beautiful Night

Thanks to all of our members and guests who decked themselves out to enjoy an evening of cheer at The Press Club of Cleveland Annual Meeting and Holiday Party. We gathered at Nighttown, the official home of the Press Club, where we feasted on festive treats and voted in our new slate of officers and welcomed three new members to the board of directors.

Oh, and we wore ridiculous outfits too, all in the name of journalism and good fun.

Please join us in welcoming our new board members Curtis Danburg, Senior Director, Communications for the Cleveland Indians, Marlene Harris-Taylor, Reporter/Producer at WVIZ/PBS WCPN/NPR ideastream, and Dani Carlson, Director of Communications and Digital Strategy for the Center for Community Solutions.

And your 2020 Press Club of Cleveland officers are Amy McGahan, President; Denise Polverine Manoloff, 1st Vice President; Kathleen Osborne, 2nd Vice President; Mary Lou Brink, Secretary; Carol Kovach, Treasurer. Meet the rest of the Press Club board here.
Noteworthy Gifts for Newsies
by Thom Fladung, Press Club board member

‘Tis the season to … ban that overused phrase from all headlines and leads. (We actually did that at one of my newspapers one holiday season.)

But it really is the season to find something for that journalist in your life. Per usual, here at The Press Club of Cleveland, we’re here to help. All we ask in return is that you help this list go viral on social media.

  • A Press Club of Cleveland T-shirt. Of course. We’ve got them. They’re cool. And you can help your journalist – and your Press Club. A win-win. (Let’s ban that, too. But after I’ve used it here.) Get a “Friend of the People” shirt here. And while you’re at it, how about buying your journalist a Press Club of Cleveland membership or renewal?

  • Every journalist drinks coffee. In our opinion. Every journalist is a badass. In our opinion. Get your journalism mug on Etsy.

  • “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser. For our money, still the best book about writing out there. Yeah, it’s on Amazon. And we won’t judge you for taking the easy route. But how about trekking to your locally owned bookstore and ordering one?

  • Give something back. Once again this year, the Cleveland SPJ chapter is organizing Journalism Day with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Several Press Club members participated last year, working with bright, young journalists in training. Here’s the skinny: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24 at the East Professional Center at 79th and Superior. Interested? Contact Thom Fladung at It’s fun. It’ll make you feel great. And you’ll be giving back. After all, ‘tis the season.
Shining a Light on Great Journalism
In this occasional Byliner series, we'll connect with journalists behind winning entries in the All-Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards. Interviews may have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Q&A with Marlene Harris-Taylor, Health Reporter, ideastream

Newly installed Press Club of Cleveland board member Marlene Harris-Taylor won first place in the Radio, In-Depth Coverage category for the stories Toxic Stress and Trauma from Gun Violence Takes a Toll on Health of Cleveland Communities and Cleveland Communities Caught in Crossfire of Gun Violence Search for Solutions
Byliner: Your stories stem from the death of a 9-year-old girl killed by a stray bullet, but you said that initially, the crime didn’t get as much media attention as you might expect. Why was that?

Marlene Harris-Taylor: We were not really doing much coverage on it because, let’s face it, she's not the first young child in Cleveland who’s been killed. For some who have lived here a while it was like ‘Oh my God, another young child has been shot,’ but it wasn't like it rocked their world. But for me, as a recent transplant to town, to hear this story, it just felt like it rocked my world. It happened not too far from my neighborhood and I thought, ‘I've been there, I've been down that street where it happened,’ and also, just as a mother, the thought of your child, innocently sitting in a car, eating ice cream, and something like that happens? So, I basically came in and told my manager that I wanted to cover it. I wanted to go to the funeral. I didn't know exactly what the story was going to be, but I knew I wanted to cover it. I wanted to go to the funeral as a journalist, but also I personally felt like I was in mourning for that child, and I had never met her in my life. I wanted to be in a community setting with other people mourning that child and feel a sense of community around that event.

Byliner: How did your story angle evolve from the incident itself to the broader topic?

M H-T: Gun violence impacts African American communities at a higher rate than others, and there is community trauma generated by these shootings. People often think about the person who was shot, obviously, and their immediate family. But what people don't think about is how that shooting affects the whole community – how it affects the business owner next door, or the people who live on the street, or the extended family. There’s this trauma generated by this onslaught of gun violence, and what do we do about that? This is a big deal right now – in fact, “trauma informed health care” is a big buzz word right now, and gun violence is one example of that. People who are showing up at the hospital or the ER are often impacted by trauma, and how do people in the system think about that and treat people differently, knowing that?

Byliner: What challenges did you face in reporting these stories?

M H-T: I decided I wanted to talk to the family, but I didn't want to approach the mother or the family at the funeral – that’s just so insensitive and tacky to do that. So I asked around to find out who her pastor was and I gave him my card and I told him I wanted to do a story about this and asked if he wouldn't mind introducing me. He said wanted to meet with me first. He basically wanted to check me out, check out my motives, so he and I met at a restaurant and just talked and I shared my desire to cover this story and that I wanted to be sensitive about it, and come at it in terms of talking about the trauma around the entire community and not just what was going on with that particular family. And he liked that so he called the mother, Marshawnette Daniels, on his cell phone, while we were sitting there, and basically introduced us.

Byliner: What impact did your reporting have?

M H-T: The response was tremendous. Everybody thought it was a really strong piece and it just broke people’s hearts. But it's also very disappointing because I don't think a thing has changed. I think the shootings have continued. More mothers have lost their children. The community continues to be traumatized and the beat goes on. But on the positive side, Marshawnette has become an activist and is determined that her daughter’s death will not be in vain. She is working on getting a law passed to hold parents accountable when their kids commit violence.

Read Marlene’s award-winning stories here and here . Marlene welcomes your feedback or questions. Contact her at .


Are you a first-place award-winner who would like to be featured in Byliner ? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a note at . Special thanks to Press Club board member Cristy Carlson for this profile.
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