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A News Experiment Begins in Youngstown

a photo of the Mahoning Matters staff
The staff of Mahoning Matters.com (with local editor Mark Sweetwood and Mandy Jenkins, GM of the Compass Experiment, holding the scissors) cuts the ribbon Friday at a launch party at the DoubleTree Hilton hotel in downtown Youngstown.

An experimental local news project is up and running in Youngstown.

MahoningMatters.com has officially launched with the goal of helping to fill the void left when Youngstown’s 150 year old newspaper shut down over the summer for economic reasons. 

Mark Sweetwood used to work at The Vindicator.  He’s now the local editor for Mahoning Matters.  He says their mission is to tell stories that matter to Mahoning County and empower citizens to engage in their community.

“We’re not gonna be the folks who explain the what’s all the time," Sweetwood said. "What we want to do, as solutions-based journalists, we want to put together the how's and the why’s. We want to do explanatory reporting, the type of thing that doesn’t always get done.”

The startup of Mahoning Matters is part of the Compass Experiment, funded by McClatchy and Google.  To help fill the gap in local coverage from the closing of the Vindicator, ProPublica has also announced it’s funding a reporter at the Youngstown Business Journal, and the Warren Tribune-Chronicle has begun publishing a Youngstown edition under the Vindicator name.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of ProPublica.