[REWIND] #89: Lila Mills (Signal Cleveland) — Local Journalism in Cleveland

Lay of The Land

18-04-2024 • 56 minutos

Today we’re running a replay of one of my favorite conversations from 2022 with Lila Mills of Signal Cleveland. Since we last spoke, Signal Cleveland has continuously produced reliable daily journalism across a plethora of local topics and built Cleveland Documenters, a group of nearly 700 greater Cleveland residents, representing nearly every zip code in the county, who are trained and paid to cover public meetings.

Additionally, launched in December 2023, Signal Akron joined Signal Cleveland as the 2nd newsroom within the Signal Ohio network of independent and community-led non-profit newsrooms — now representative of one of the largest local nonprofit news startups in the country with more than 20 staff and over $15 million raised so far.


I have a deep-rooted belief in the importance of local storytelling, as a way to inspire, educate, and build community locally; it’s one of the many reasons I love doing Lay of The Land, and it’s why I think this conversation about Signal Cleveland resonates so broadly and why I’ve become such an advocate and supporter for the work they’re doing — what local storytelling is to the community, local journalism is to democracy and society overall!


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Lila has been working in community and media for more than 20 years. She most recently spent almost 11 years with the nationally-recognized community building program Neighborhood Connections where her work ranged from editing a community newspaper to serving as associate director. Prior to that, Mills was a student newspaper advisor at Cuyahoga Community College and a reporter at the Plain Dealer. Born and raised on the southeast side of Cleveland, Lila is a first-generation college graduate with degrees from Columbia University.


From 2000 to 2020, the newspaper industry's advertising revenue fell by an estimated 80%, from 2000 to 2018, weekday newspaper circulation fell from 55.8 million households to an estimated 28.6 million, 1800 communities have lost their local newsroom since 2004, over 2000 papers have closed since 2004 and there’s been a 60% reduction newsroom jobs since 2008 — needless to say, access to Local News across the country is waning.


Signal Cleveland — a nonprofit initiative formed by The American Journalism Project and a coalition of Ohio-based organizations like the Cleveland Foundation, the John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, the Visible Voice Charitable Fund, and the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation — aiming to be a trusted source of daily news and information for Greater Clevelanders.


Lila has incredible perspective working through all of the challenges that come with starting a newsroom from scratch with real understanding of the Cleveland nuance — very much enjoyed hearing her thoughts on the whole endeavor and the implications this can have for Cleveland!

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Learn more about Signal Cleveland
Learn more about the American Journalism Project
Connect with Lila Mills on LinkedIn
Follow Signal Cleveland on Twitter @signalcleveland
Follow Signal Cleveland on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/signalcleveland/

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SPONSORS: John Carroll University Boler College of Business || Impact Architects & Ninety

John Carroll University Boler College of Business: https://business.jcu.edu/
As we’ve heard time and time again from entrepreneurs on Lay of The Land — many of whom are proud alumni of John Carroll University —  success in this ever-changing world of business requires a dynamic and innovative mindset, deep understanding of emerging technology and systems, strong ethics, leadership prowess, acute business acumen… all qualities nurtured through the Boler College of Business!


With 4 different MBA programs of study — spanning Professional, Online, Hybrid, and 1-Year-Flexible — The Boler College of Business provides flexible timelines and various class structures for each MBA Track — including online, in-person, hybrid and asynchronous — to offer the most effective options for you, in addition to the ability to participate in an elective International Study Tour, providing unparalleled opportunities to expand your global business knowledge by networking with local companies overseas and experiencing a new culture.

The career impact of a Boler MBA is formative and will help prepare you for this future of business and get more out of your career. To learn more about John Carroll University’s Boler MBA programs, please go to business.jcu.edu


The Boler College of Business is fully accredited by AACSB International, the highest accreditation a College of Business can have.


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This episode is brought to you by Impact Architects. As we share the stories of entrepreneurs building incredible organizations throughout NEO, Impact Architects helps those leaders — many of whom we’ve heard from as guests on Lay of The Land — realize their visions and build great organizations. I believe in Impact Architects and the people behind it so much, that I have actually joined them personally in their mission to help leaders gain focus, align together, and thrive by doing what they love! As a listener, you can sit down for a free consultation with Impact Architects by visiting ia.layoftheland.fm!


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Past guests include Justin Bibb (Mayor of Cleveland), Pat Conway (Great Lakes Brewing), Steve Potash (OverDrive), Umberto P. Fedeli (The Fedeli Group), Lila Mills (Signal Cleveland), Stewart Kohl (The Riverside Company), Mitch Kroll (Findaway — Acquired by Spotify), and many more.

Connect with Jeffrey Stern on LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreypstern/

Follow Jeffrey Stern on X @sternJefehttps://twitter.com/sternjef...

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