The News-Herald welcomed local political candidates to a lounge area Tuesday, part of a three-phase approach of opening its newsroom to the community.
The News-Herald, with Editor Tricia Ambrose, Managing Editor Laura Kessel and Community Engagement Editor Cheryl Sadler leading the way, has a strong record of engagement with its community, east of Cleveland in northeast Ohio. (Check out the community-submitted Olympic-rings photos, where entrants are competing for prizes from a salon, a restaurant and a hotel.)
Tuesday’s event attracted candidates for local political races. They talked with News-Herald reporters and editors, asking questions about plans for news coverage and candidate endorsements. Video Lead Michael Allen Blair shot one-minute videos in which the candidates made their case to voters, for posting later in the voters guide at News-Herald.com. Advertising representatives explained options for political advertising.
The lounge area will be available for small meeting rooms such as book clubs and Scout groups to meet just off the News-Herald newsroom. The lounge is right off the newsroom library, where more community space will be offered in the coming weeks. A new microfilm reader and printer and three computers for public use will be available for members of the community interested in research or blogging.
The third room being renovated for community engagement at the News-Herald is the cafeteria, which will be used for larger community meetings. The cafeteria has already been repainted, with a projection screen installed. New chairs will be added soon. News-Herald staff members and community members will lead upcoming sessions about fantasy football, home-schooling and shooting photos of high school football.
Editor Tricia Ambrose expects all three phases of the project to be finished by the end of September.
We’re in a busy time for Digital First Media community engagement. The Mercury opened its new Community Media Lab in Pottstown, Pa., Friday and other news staffs are working on other community newsroom projects announced earlier this year.
I’ll post some other photos later today on my DFM Engagement Tumblr.
The Record also had a great community engagement event last Friday, with 30 blood donors, including seven first-timers, showing up at its Community Media Lab in Troy, N.Y., for an American Red Cross blood drive. “It was a great event for us,” said Editor Lisa Lewis.