Heights Observer honored again

For the sixth consecutive year, the Heights Observer was recognized as one of Ohio’s best community publications in the All-Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The program is run by the Press Club of Cleveland as part of its mission to advocate for the importance of journalism in a democracy. With more than 700 entries, it’s one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.

The Heights Observer earned second-place, with “Best in Ohio” honors going to the Cleveland Jewish News. The Observer won the top honor in 2020 and again last year, and came in second place in 2018, ’19 and ’21.

“Heights of Democracy,” the monthly column written by Deborah Van Kleef and Carla Rautenberg, earned second place in the public service category for non-daily newspapers. That recognition was based on their ongoing attention to the challenges of the Cleveland Heights government under its first popularly elected mayor.

Interestingly, it was their 2019 coverage of the Cleveland Heights ballot issue to change from a city manager government that earned Van Kleef and Rautenberg the top honor in 2020—a “Best in Ohio” award for public service reporting.

Our volunteer-based business model makes the Heights Observer an outlier in the awards program. The judges are journalists from across the country, and they haven’t always been hospitable to publications that operate without paid reporters.

But the media landscape is changing, and being a nonprofit media outlet is no longer the novelty it was back when the Heights Observer began publishing 15 years ago.

Our goal has always been that the Heights Observer would tell the community’s story as it unfolds over time. To me, these awards are recognition from within the industry that our approach is doing that job.  

Much of the credit for producing such a strong community publication belongs to our editor, Kim Sergio Inglis, who works to ensure the paper reads well, is relevant, and reflects a broad range of community voices.

The rest of the credit goes to everyone who contributes in some way—those who write articles; volunteers who edit and distribute the paper; advertisers who support it; the paid contractors who do layout, bookkeeping and the other unglamorous parts of publishing; and of course FutureHeights, which assumes the risk and cost of publishing.

Thank you and congratulations to everyone who is part of producing this community asset.

How-to workshops set for fall

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, the Heights Observer and FutureHeights will host a free online workshop on writing for the Observer—the simple and important basics for putting together a news article.

A week later, we’ll hold another online workshop for taking better photos with your smartphone—whether for the Observer or anything else.

On Oct. 3, we’ll hold a question-and-answer discussion about how the Heights Observer operates, the difference between news and opinion, how we select what to publish, and other questions you may have. We haven’t decided yet whether to hold this online or in-person.

Look for more details in the coming weeks from our various communication channels.

Bob Rosenbaum

Cleveland Heights resident Bob Rosenbaum is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee, and is responsible for its advertising sales and market development.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 9:55 AM, 06.27.2023