Articles by

Mary Sweetwood

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    Mary Sweetwood is coordinator of The News Outlet, a multiple winner of the Knight Community Information Challenge. Below, she writes about a recent investigative project. Above: The News Outlet via YouTube. In early September, the interns at The News Outlet, a student journalism initiative based at Youngstown State University, were ready for their first major assignment of the semester—profiles on the members of the Ohio State School Board of Education. Imagine their reaction: Profiles? Really? However, we told them that this would be important journalism. Previous News Outlet ventures had resulted in Associated Press awards for its writers. One series of stories resulted in the closure of an unsafe adult care facility. Another project explored the booming fracking industry in the state. Still: Profiles? This was before board members didn’t return the students’ telephone calls. And ignored their emails. And outright refused their requests for interviews. In mid-November, those profiles and a series of stories based on the investigative work done by the students were published in major newspapers in the state, including the Akron Beacon Journal and The Youngstown Vindicator, both of which are media partners with The News Outlet; The Columbus Dispatch; The Canton Repository; and the Dayton Daily News. Radio partners, including WYSU, have also aired stories about the investigation.