The Marshall Project this week announced Jim Crutchfield as editor of its new Cleveland newsroom
, the first bureau in a planned expansion of local newsrooms across the country that will report on criminal justice.
“I am honored to join The Marshall Project, and I am excited to lead our first local news operation in Cleveland,” Crutchfield said in a statemet. “Criminal justice is overwhelmingly a local matter, and we will be focused on producing engagement journalism to serve local audiences, especially those directly affected by the criminal justice system. I can’t wait to become part of such an incredible team.”
Crutchfield brings five decades of journalism experience to the job. Recently a journalism professor, he was president and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal from 2001 to 2006, and before that managing editor at the Detroit Free Press, managing editor at the Beacon Journal, executive editor of the Long Beach Press-Telegram, a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and a reporter for the Pittsbrugh Press, where he got his start in 1968.
“The Cleveland news team will set the tone for the local news network we are hoping to build, and I am delighted to have an industry veteran like Jim Crutchfield leading our inaugural local news team,” Marlon A. Walker, The Marshall Project's managing editor overseeing the local network, said in a statement. “These teams will be deeply committed to community engagement, building relationships and telling stories important to our underserved neighborhoods, serving our mission to create and sustain a sense of urgency about criminal justice in America.”
The newsroom, which will hire at least three reporters locally to start, will get support from the national Marshall Project operation and will co-publish with local outlets, like it did with the Testify series earlier this year on Cuyahoga County's court system, largely ruled by white judges elected by white suburbanites, and the lopsided outcomes for those incarcerated by those judges, 75% of which are Black.
The Gund Foundation has provided a $750,000 grant to support staffing and editorial resources at the newsroom for three years, with matching grants from national funders. Fred Cummings, one of the Marshall Project's founding board members and president of Elizabeth Park Capital Management in Cleveland, is also providing financial support.
In other Cleveland journalism expansion news: The ambitious American Journalism Project/Cleveland Foundation nonprofit newsroom, which plans to hire nearly 20 local reporters, this week announced Lila Woods as its founding editor.