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Kent Grad Leads Local News Initiative That Will Launch in Youngstown

a photo of Mandy Jenkins
Mandy Jenkins leads The Compass Experiment, which its founders the McClatchy Co. and Google Inc. describe as a local news laboratory.

When The (Youngstown) Vindicator announced it would stop publishing next month, it came at a time when Google Inc. and the McClatchy Co. were preparing to launch an experimental project in the local news space. 

They’re bringing that local news laboratory to Youngstown. 

Ohio native and Kent State University journalism graduate Mandy Jenkins leads The Compass Experiment. The goal is to develop a sustainable model of local journalism by piloting digital publications for three years in three cities. Youngstown will be the first, and Jenkins hopes to draw from the experience of Vindicator staff who will be losing their jobs. 

"I certainly hope they apply," she said. "You want to be able to bring in reporters and editors who are familiar in the community, who have contacts on the beat and are really deeply embedded and invested in Youngstown and the Mahoning County area."

Jenkins wants to respect the legacy of the 150 year old newspaper, which will cease publication in August. She anticipates launching the yet-to-be-named digital publication in mid-September. 

The job openings that have been posted so far include reporter, editor, content manager, and business executive. The business role is important because Jenkins said the money Google is providing is seed money, and the idea is to make the operation sustainable on its own.