The members of The Jambar Editorial Board have each been affected by The Vindicator seizing publication in unique ways.
From early childhood memories of Vindy news clips taped to grandma’s refrigerator, to Vindicator employees teaching each of us how to structure a news story in our journalism classes, all of our lives have been touched by The Vindicator’s impact.
The Youngstown State University journalism program teaches its students how to write in-depth print newspaper stories. Between classes and working at The Jambar since I was a freshman, print journalism has been instilled in my blood. In my mind, I thought I would be working for a newspaper after college. Reality hit me when The Vindicator announced it was closing. Sadly, the journalism world is morphing into something new, and journalists have to adjust. I just didn’t think this would happen in Youngstown, a city that has a history of corruption. I hope the watchdog reporting in the area does not come to a halt now that Youngstown’s greatest watchdog has gone dark.
Working at my local newspaper was a dream I have had since I was young, with high hopes of applying to Vindy in the upcoming months after graduation. When I heard The Vindicator was closing, I thought it was a rumor. How could it be? But once reality set in, it was obvious that it wasn’t just me (or any other average journalism student) that would be affected by the closing, but all of Youngstown. The city is losing its heart, its memory keeper and its storyteller. But as this door closes, I’m hopeful new ones will open. I’m scared but excited for the future of journalism in the Valley.
From a young age, I’ve always had a drive and passion for sharing people’s stories and helping them have a “voice” of their own. Growing up in the Youngstown area, I remember seeing editions of The Vindicator sitting on my coffee table and glancing over the front page stories. As I developed more of my high school and college education, I started to discover where I fell on the journalism spectrum and what I can offer to the community. Being able to shadow The Vindicator’s reporting style, technique and physique has really helped me develop my journalistic voice. I have all of the confidence in the world that the media culture in Youngstown will thrive and keep the community on their toes. Nonetheless, there will be an unspoken silence and grief knowing the original Vindicator will not be present in the community. I can only hope that I can report to the best of my ability as a student journalist and help fill the “Vindy void.”
The Vindicator’s “Vindy Blitz” football stories was one of the reasons I wanted to start writing for a newspaper in the first place. Losing it still hasn’t sunk in for me just yet. I’m hoping the other papers around here can begin to fill the void, but the local sports scene has taken a major loss. I want to thank the sports staff at The Vindicator for taking me under their wings as a young writer and helping me grow. While I’m nervous for my future as a journalist, I know that there’s plenty of doors for me to walk through.
The Vindicator and the arts in Youngstown always had an important relationship that brought the community together – not only with bigger acts that would perform at Stambaugh or the DeYor, but with hardworking high school marching bands, middle school orchestras and art shows that include the work from students as young as 6 years old. I didn’t realize its importance when I first picked up an instrument at the age of 10, but now I realize having that coverage of an upcoming band concert or even a photo of someone proudly standing next to their blue-ribboned art in the newspaper is crucial. It validates and reassures us that we’ve reached our goal, and that goal is to bring happiness and inspire the community through our performances or creations.
I had three reactions, all within three hours, when I heard about The Vindicator closing. First: How dare the world fall apart within the nine hours I was working? It left me reeling at 10 p.m.
Second: How will this affect my future? I want to go places, like any young journalist, but I knew I’d have to start small. The Vindicator situation made me fear that I picked the wrong field to study. Third: What can I do to help? Once I rationalized my fear for my future, I started analyzing and problem-solving myself. I wanted to go into the school year as enterprise editor, a brand-new position, and really make a difference in this time of need.