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Ohio media collaborative names seasoned journalist Clare Roth its top editor

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Kateri Ang
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Clare A. Roth has been named the first managing editor of the statewide public media partnership The Ohio Newsroom.

The Ohio Newsroom today announced Clare A. Roth has been selected as its first managing editor. Roth’s job will be to grow the statewide public media partnership to better serve small towns and rural areas – the so called “news deserts” that don’t get the same attention as the urban metros of Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

“Clare brings creative energy, editorial heft, and a collaborative spirit to this critical role,” said Ohio Public Media Services general manager Wendy Turner. “She's a strategic thinker and coalition builder, which are essential attributes for building this initiative and meeting this moment.”

Roth most recently served as news editor for WFPL in Louisville. A graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Roth began her career as a producer for Iowa Public Radio, where, she says, she interviewed everyone from pig farmers to presidential candidates. Her career includes time at NPR member station WOSU in Columbus, anchoring drive-time programing as well as elections and breaking news. Roth was named best radio host in back-to-back years by the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Association.  

"I started my career at a statewide station, and it taught me what a difference public radio can make in news deserts,” said Roth. “It also drove home how good journalism can help create community and connection across county lines.”

The Ohio Newsroom is Ohio’s largest daily statewide radio and digital news service. It was created to address the severe loss of news resources in smaller communities. More than 100 Ohio newspapers have shuttered since 2004, while total circulation in the state diminished from 5.5 million to 2.9 million over that same period.

The newsroom is a collaboration by Ideastream Public Media (Cleveland), WOSU Public Media (Columbus), WYSO (Yellow Springs), Cincinnati Public Radio (Cincinnati), WCSU (Wilberforce), WGTE (Toledo), and WYSU (Youngstown).

Roth’s role as managing editor will be to organize the group around shared goals and strategic priorities. Among her goals, Roth plans to shed light on the Buckeye State’s marginalized regions, pulling diverse voices into stories and going beyond pre-conceived narratives.

“Clare’s proven experience of finding nuances and a variety of perspectives will be invaluable to The Ohio Newsroom,” said Ideastream CEO and President Kevin Martin.

The Ohio Newsroom’s overriding mission is to expand the frequency, quality and depth of reporting available to all public radio stations to address the issues that can make Ohio better for all involved.

This spring, the Newsroom launched the “Disconnected Democracy” editorial project, which showcased ordinary Ohioans from every corner of the state.

Roth starts her position as managing editor on July 25.

Doug Guth is a freelance journalist.

This story was edited with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.