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What of your Vindy, Julianne?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Over the past few weeks, we have reorganized some parts of The Vindicator as we continue to juggle our print life with our digital life and battle the changing landscape of media revenue.

There’s no denying that changes are happening to media in so many ways. Legacy media of all types – radio, television and print – are changing at a rapid rate.

It’s more than what we want. And it’s surely more than what veteran readers desire.

We took hundreds of phone calls, emails and letters in the past several weeks as we adjusted long-time features such as the crossword puzzle, sudoku, television listings, weather and more as a way to maintain enough space for news.

One letter came from a Julianne, and she reflected the sentiments of plenty of readers when she wrote:

“I am writing as to the anticipated changes in stock listings and the TV Guide. If these and more changes continue, can you give me a reason as to why I should keep subscribing to your newspaper?”

Well, Julianne, I will try.

But if the value you derive from a daily newspaper is found only in the television listings, stocks, crosswords and sudoku, then I might just raise the surrender flag now.

Those are fun things to have, for sure. They have been featured in newspapers for decades as a way to draw added readership. By no means was their intent to be the only reason to read, however.

So why should you read The Vindicator, you ask?

In just our recent history, it was our work that revealed problems with jail supervision in Struthers, water issues in Warren and the chaos that is our Youngstown school board.

The finances in Niles are a mess, and The Vindicator was covering that situation long before any other Valley media knew there were struggles in Niles besides mall traffic.

A year ago, we waded into the mess that was the Mill Creek MetroParks lakes closures. Almost to the day, 100 years earlier, The Vindicator did just the same thing when it allowed park founder Volney Rogers two full pages of newspaper space to describe what the sewers would do to our urban oasis. It fell on deaf ears then and got kicked down the road for 100 years, only to cause us problems today.

My history at The Vindy goes back just to 2007. I’m proud that in that period, we were the media that made earthquakes and injection wells an undeniable issue even though Gov. John Kasich’s administrators told us – many times – that we were wrong.

It was this newspaper that stayed on the Oakhill conspiracy coverage – from its first days until its last days (maybe) just this past winter. In 2010, we battled a judge who did not want citizens to know what their local government was doing behind the scenes.

Such community protection has gone on since 1869. Amid organized crime, improper influence in government and the litany of wrongdoing in the Valley, your newspaper never wavered or cowered.

And there has been just as much good news that has come from The Vindy amid the puzzles and comics.

The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport had a nice expansion this week with first flights to Chicago. The airport had an early and often supporter in The Vindicator.

What the new downtown Youngstown is now can trace its first steps back to efforts by The Vindicator with coverage and vision from its ownership.

And when the city was struggling with the former Chevy Center (now Covelli Centre), I’m proud that we were the only media to invest beefy news coverage with the first successes under the new direction of Mayor Jay Williams and Eric Ryan of JAC Management. Today, every media and sponsor seems to claim such support and belief.

And those investments continue through even today.

Business reporter Kalea Hall’s first-person tale of flying the first Youngstown-to-Chicago flight is being celebrated by many.

A few days back, our sports staff captured a great championship softball match between pre-teen girls from Boardman and Canfield.

And just before that, we were first in the Valley to report that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan was on Hillary Clinton’s short list for vice president possibilities.

Ed Muransky is a great friend to the Valley – a smart guy and a smart investor.

Just last week, his Southwoods Hospital group ran a special section in The Vindicator celebrating its 20-year anniversary.

I am pretty confident his measure of our value was based on much more than the puzzles and the television listings.

Comics, puzzles, TV listings and such are components of The Vindicator in which we value and invest plenty of time and funds.

We are so glad that you like them in The Vindicator.

But our most important role for the Valley, we think, is found in many other places in the newspaper. Please give this consideration, Julianne, before you cancel us.

Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at He blogs, too, on Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.