Ashland Source is an online community news organization owned by Richland Source. We serve the citizens of North Central Ohio and have been covering the Ashland County area since 2013. Ashlandsource.com was launched in 2018. We are driven by a deeply-held belief that news organizations - especially now - serve their community best when they are involved in it. As a news source, that requires us to break from either tradition or current trends in some very fundamental ways that we think you may appreciate.
40 W. 4th Street
Mansfield, OH 44902
Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday-Friday
Newsroom: 419-610-2100 x 1012
WHO WE ARE
Carl Fernyak, Founder & Chief Executive Officer
Jay Allred, President & Publisher
Amy Rehbein, Operations Administrator
Larry Phillips, Managing Editor
Brittany Schock, Engagement & Solutions Editor
Carl Hunnell, City Editor
Curt Conrad, Sports Reporter
Katie Ellington, Education & Features Reporter
Peng Chen, Business Reporter
Waylon O’Donnell, Ashland Source Correspondent
Grant Pepper, Knox Pages Reporter
Cheryl Splain, Knox Pages Correspondent
Tierra Thomas, Thrive Reporter
Angie Cirone, Sales Director
Adam Fox, Digital Marketing Director
Zac Hiser, Platform Director
David Yoder, Senior Ad & Marketing Manager
HOW WE’RE FUNDED
Source Media Properties (Richland Times, LLC) is a for-profit company owned by Carlton Fernyak. It was founded in 2013 with the imperative to find innovative ways to impact our community and reach sustainability at the same time.
We are free to read and intend to stay that way. How? Our revenue comes from a variety of sources.
We provide robust advertising and digital marketing solutions to brands throughout the U.S through our in-house agency, Source Brand Solutions. Services include display advertising, sponsored content, brand development, web design, digital advertising, event activations, and more.
Our newsroom is funded by a growing individual and corporate membership program (Newsroom Partnerships). All membership revenue is solely dedicated to newsroom operations. When appropriate, our newsroom competes for project-focused grants that expand our reporting capacity. Among others, we have received grant funding from the Solutions Journalism Network, The Facebook Journalism Project, the Google News Initiative, the Lenfest Institute, Report for America, and the Ashland County Community Foundation.
The company is also the inventor and operator of an artificial intelligence product designed for local newsrooms. Lede AI provides human-language high school sports results at scale for media companies around the U.S.
WHAT WE VALUE
Our mission has always been to tell the entire story of Ashland County.
From day one, we have prioritized authentic, active and impactful contributions to our communities.
Our news mix is decidedly more holistic than traditional news sources. Our home page reflects the current local news, and the majority of the time that’s progress, entertaining events, and the accomplishments of people, organizations and businesses in our area.
This includes a strong focus on solutions journalism, which at its core is covering the response to a problem by investigating what was done, what worked, what didn’t and why. We’ve all experienced the fatigue that comes with only reading negative news; it is equally frustrating for us when painstaking coverage of a problem doesn't produce change. But add solutions journalism to the investigation, showing how problems can be solved, and you find that the usual excuses just won’t cut it. Change happens. By adding rigorous coverage of solutions, we can tell the whole story.
But don’t be fooled: We aren’t all rainbows and unicorns. We absolutely report the challenges confronting our region - we just don’t live off of it or attempt to exploit them. We could drive a lot more page views with a crime-heavy focus, but that wouldn’t be an accurate reflection of our community. So we don’t do it.
Instead, we think of our news mix like a balanced diet. Spending all our resources reporting the worst parts of our region is like living off Cheetos and whiskey - you might survive for a while, but eventually, it’ll make you sick.
Our news staff works together to keep the best interests of our readers at the forefront of our coverage decisions. Before we pursue a story, the core question we ask ourselves is this: “Does this story serve our community, or does it just serve our short-term business interests?” If we cannot point to the former, the story rarely gets reported.
If a source calls the newsroom to inform us of a factual error, our editorial staff is quick and happy to make the change. If a reader cares enough to tell us about their disappointment, we make sure to listen and act appropriately. If you come to us with open ears and minds, we will respond in kind.
NEWS LITERACY TERMS
Ashland Source features a variety of community-focused content. Sometimes content is written by our news team. Sometimes it’s submitted and shared with readers. This is why we consider it important to label our content, and we encourage readers to take notice of these labels.
Byline Content: This is content written by a staff reporter and aims to tell a story relevant to the Ashland County community. These stories include interviews with local individuals and often require rigorous research. These stories are edited and fact-checked by at least one editor prior to publication. Directly below the story’s headline, you’ll notice a byline that features a local reporter’s name.
Submitted Content: This is content that is submitted to our newsroom by a community member or organization. It is published because it offers local, relevant news to our community. These stories are only lightly edited. Directly below the story’s headline, you’ll notice “Special to Ashland Source.”
Wire Content: Do we publish wire content? No. But what we do publish is curated content. This is content that fits our values and is helpful and relevant to readers. This includes stories from the Ohio History Connection and the Solutions Journalism Network. Directly below the story’s headline, you’ll notice a byline that features where the content came from.
Opinion: Opinions are published on our website in the form of editorials, columns and letters to the editor. Each is labeled “Opinion” in text placed directly above the article’s headline.
Editorials like news stories are based on objective facts, but they share an opinion derived from facts. The conclusion of the author does not reflect the opinion of the news reporters, but rather is an opinion from the Ashland Source’s editorial team.
Columns are recurring articles, in which the writer expresses an opinion. The writer may be a journalist or an expert in the topic that they are writing about.
Letters to the editor are submitted. The newsroom does not endorse these opinions, we simply support their right to have an opinion. Resultantly, we do not fact check opinion pieces. An individual can submit one letter to the editor every 30 days.
Sponsored content: While news content has the interests of the community at heart, sponsored content has the interest of the paying business at the center. This content tells the story of a local business in a promotional way. It may be submitted or written by a content specialist on the Source Brand Solutions team. This content is labeled “sponsored.” This label can be seen directly above the headline in stories.
ENGAGING WITH READERS
At Ashland Source, we want to do journalism for and with our community. This means exploring topics our readers are interested in. It also means being open to constructive feedback and questions.
How do I contact the newsroom? The best way to contact us to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to contact a specific reporter, you can find their email address on the About Us page. You can also call our newsroom at (419) 610-2100 or send a message to our Facebook page.
Do you accept tips / story ideas? Absolutely! Please send any story ideas or leads to our newsroom inbox at email@example.com. You can also submit a question or idea on our website through our Open Source forum.
I noticed an error in your reporting, what do I do? We always strive to report the news accurately, fairly and without bias; however, reporters are humans, too, and so sometimes we make mistakes. If you have a question, concern or correction, please reach out to us through any of the methods described above.
Do you respond to comments on social media? We look through our Facebook comments and messages daily. While we don’t have time to respond to each and every reader, we make our best effort to respond to genuine questions asked in good faith. We appreciate constructive, helpful feedback from our readers and enjoy productive conversations through any medium. Readers may even bring up points or questions that prompt follow up reporting. While we welcome helpful discourse on our Facebook page, the best way to truly engage with our reporters is to reach out via email.
We do not engage with “trolling” behavior. Out of respect for all readers, we hide comments with profanity, racial slurs and homophobic slurs from public view. All points of view are welcome in our comment section, but hate is not.
COMMITMENT TO ACCURACY
We’d rather get the story right than get the story first. Accuracy is a priority for our staff. We believe it’s important to have the details correct.
Sometimes, we will hold off sharing a story until we have the full story. We are sure to fact-check the information we have before hitting the publish button.
We want you to know that accuracy is always our goal, but reporters are human. We will make mistakes, and when we do, we believe it is important to be transparent about correcting those mistakes.
If we make a change to a story after it’s been published -- for any length of time -- you’ll see an editor’s note at the top of the story. In this text, we explain exactly what was changed and why it was updated.