Local journalism has collapsed. Can anything save it?

Not so long ago, the Youngstown Vindicator sent someone to cover every municipal or school board meeting in the surrounding three-county area.

“People knew that,” said Mark Brown, former general manager of the northeastern Ohio newspaper, “and they behaved.”

In other words, just the presence of a reporter helped keep local officials honest.

Those days are gone. And now so is the Vindicator. Its name and subscriber list were sold to a nearby paper that now has a Youngstown-area edition, but the family newspaper that had served the region for 150 years published its last edition on Aug. 31, 2019.

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