By Amanda Joerndt
The Youngstown Press Club held their first event, “History of Media in the Mahoning Valley,” with guest speaker, Bill Lawson, at the Tyler Mahoning Valley History Center on Nov. 8.
Youngstown is home to several different media outlets from network affiliated television stations to newspapers and radio stations, and through the history center community members can become educated on the history of the area.
The history center also runs the Business and Media Archives containing business records, marketing material, radio recordings and television news clips.
The Business and Media Archives is the legacy of the founder for WKBN Broadcasting Corporation, Warren Williamson Jr., who donated corporate archives in the 1920s.
Lawson, executive director of the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, is a Mahoning Valley native and has been involved in the organization for 31 years.
According to Lawson, the center offers different programs to educate community members on the history of Youngstown.
The Press Club had an inclusive look at the different programs and how the history center has preserved the local news over the years.
“We have so many different news outlets and the network affiliates here in our television stations we still maintain,” Lawson said. “We have newspapers that are published daily and student papers that are covered at Youngstown State University, and I think we need to celebrate that tonight.”
Lawson said expanding the audience that visits the museum each day will have long-term benefits for the history center.
“We obviously want to grow our audience and membership base because that will be the future for us,” he said. “We’re looking at ways to expand our collections and programs in the future.”
JoAnn Kolarik, sales executive at 21 WFMJ-TV, is the president of the Youngstown Press Club and has been trying to resurrect the club for five to six years.
Kolarik said educating community and press club members on the history of media can help people understand more about Youngstown’s past.
“The historical center has done a fantastic job of trying to provide a home for all of the media to donate archives,” she said. “For it to provide a home for what is still out there, this was the perfect place to have an event to get [the history of media] all rolling.”
Kolarik said the Youngstown Press Club works together to provide support to the media outlets in the area for their past and present work.
“There is a need for unifying all of this media because it is the history of media center here in Youngstown,” she said. Giving a form to all of those people that have worked in the various aspects of media, we wanted to provide a fellowship for all of that too.”
The Youngstown Press Club is open to YSU students to learn more about media in the valley and network with different media outlets.
Isabella Futchi, a sophomore psychology major, joined the Youngstown Press Club to be an active student member in the organization and their media events.
Futchi said Lawson educated her on Youngstown’s media history and how this plays a role in media programs today.
“Youngstown is a very huge media [area], especially in the past, and I didn’t realize how many media and press outlets were stationed in Youngstown,” she said.
Futchi said being an active member of the press club helped her meet new people in the media and learn more about where she is pursuing her college education.
“I think it’s important that we have a press club because it gives journalism students a way to network with different media outlets and it’s always good to have that connection,” she said.