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Inside LINK: Changes to our Editorial Board

Inside LINK is a weekly column from our CEO, Lacy Starling. If you have any questions you’d like Lacy to answer, email her at [email protected].

At LINK, we have two Boards of Directors that help us manage this organization, uphold our guiding principles, and ensure that we fulfill our mission.

First, we have our board of directors. This board oversees all of our financial and strategic business operations, and I report to it. The Board of Directors is made up of seven people – three investors who provided us with start-up funds, and four community leaders to ensure that we serve the interests of the community, not just the investors.

I meet with the board once a month to review our financial situation, discuss strategic company moves (such as starting a printed weekly), and discuss management issues. They have no say in editorial operations or content and must go through me if they want to speak to a member of our editorial team.

Second, we have our editorial board. This board was created to help us ensure that we are truly fulfilling our mission to tell the stories of all of Northern Kentucky. It consists of a group of seven volunteers who meet once a month to discuss our coverage – the good and the bad.

Our editorial board is a diverse group of people from all over the NKY metro – from Newport to Union – and they represent many different communities. They help us see into communities where we may not have visibility, and they also keep us honest about how we cover big issues.

In our monthly meetings with the Editorial Board, we discuss everything from sports coverage to the language we use to identify Indigenous populations. The conversations are very varied and their opinions are really important for the way we view certain topics and coverages.

It is also important that members of our editorial board do not work in public relations or communications for any particular organization, political candidate or company. We were very careful in selecting the members of our first editorial board to make sure we didn’t have these kinds of conflicts, and we built a board that was as balanced and neutral as possible.

But last month, we were thrown a curve ball. Rich Boehne, Chairman of our Editorial Board, has been named Chairman of the NKU Board of Directors. He was a long-time member of the Board of Regents, but this new title placed him in a unique and conflicting role. As president, he is the council’s spokesperson and will have to speak to the press on all matters they vote on.

Again, in a normal year, that probably wouldn’t be a big deal — most of the things the Regents discuss are very inside baseball, NKU-specific issues. But 2022, and 2023 to come, are special because of the passage of HB9. I won’t try to explain HB9 here, but our Mark Payne has done a fantastic job in this story.

In short, NKU’s Board of Regents must decide whether to authorize a charter school in northern Kentucky, a controversial topic. Having the person responsible for communicating this decision to the press on our editorial board was a conflict that Rich and our team felt was too important to ignore.

So, on September 23, Rich resigned from his position on our editorial board. Because he was the only board member with previous reporting experience, we knew we needed someone with that experience to replace him – having someone in the room who can talk about the ethical and journalistic standards that we must follow is invaluable.

Fortunately, we have an excellent journalism school in our backyard at NKU, full of exceptionally talented people who have worked in the press for years. We are very pleased to announce that Rich will be replaced on the Board of Directors by Michele daypractice teacher and student media adviser at NKU.

Michele has nearly 20 years of experience as an editor and journalist, and before teaching at NKU, she worked at the Kentucky Post. We are very fortunate that Michele has agreed to add our Editorial Board to his already busy schedule and we look forward to his contributions to our organization.

We’ve been working with Michele since starting LINK last year through our content sharing partnership with The northernerand this extension of our relationship will only strengthen our media coverage.

We will absolutely miss Rich – there is no one else in the community with his deep knowledge and experience of running a news organization – but we respect and appreciate his willingness to separate his roles at NKU and with us . We look forward to working with him as a source on the issue of charter schools and are grateful for his contributions during our first year.