As this excellent coverage by StateImpact Ohio indicates, 11 of the 19 seats on the Ohio Board of Education (BOE) are elected and eight are filled by appointment. It wasn’t always that way. You can read more about the transition in this StateImpact Ohio article. However, this year, of the 11 elected seats, seven are contested.
Very sadly for the voters, three districts out of the seven contested – District 2, 5, and 7 – are in NEOMG territory, but the NEOMG didn’t publish a single article about the races or the candidates. (You can find Voter Guide information submitted by candidates themselves in those three districts, though one incumbent provided no responses). This is despite NEOMG handing out statehouse endorsements for seats that cover many of the same communities. And despite its coverage – often very good – of topics like the Common Core, religion in public education, violence in the schools, school funding and many things related to charter schools. No election coverage of the people who want to serve us in the government body that has a significant policy impact.
Why is this worth writing about? Because the NEOMG’s failure to explain its removal of valuable, newsworthy content highlights the importance of appreciating and utilizing less visible news sources – and ones like StateImpact Ohio fill newsworthy, important gaps. This should encourage us to look around and see how other communities with what might appear to be just one large news outlet are doing to keep that news outlet accountable to the public, i.e., what’s up with the competition. Another example? ethepeople.org indicates that the League of Women Voters collaborates with many different kinds of media to produce the Voter Guide. It doesn’t have to be NEOMG who benefits from the excellent brand reputation that the League brings to the table. Maybe it’s our StateImpact outlet.
We, and NEOMG should think about that.