YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Over the course of the last two years, Lily Schaffer has gained a lot of professional experience after getting a running start in her childhood.
The newest reporter at The Business Journal is primarily covering technology-related business news. Her passions also include reporting news pertinent to small businesses, women- and minority-owned businesses, and features on women and minority business leaders.
Schaffer is a 2020 graduate of Kent State University. Her experiences include copy editing, page layout/design and photography. “Photojournalism was my concentration at Kent,” she says.
INK in Her DNA
Schaffer’s mother, Melissa Raines, was a reporter at the Mount Vernon News in Knox County, where they lived.
Her sister, Abbey Gootee, also chose to initially pursue reporting, but now works at Purdue University in the communications department, Schaffer says.
“Journalism is in my blood. It’s what we’re all good at,” she says.
Her career began at the Mount Vernon News as an intern, which later turned into a full-time position until COVID-19 hit. Then, Schaffer joined the Morning Journal in Lisbon and most recently reported for the Tribune Chronicle/Vindicator in Warren.
“I always knew I wanted to write, but there aren’t a lot of practical jobs for writers. Or at least, that’s what I was told,” Schaffer says, adding she enjoys the storytelling aspect of the craft.
She would go to city council meetings with her mother when she was younger, even taking her own little notepad with her. “(My mom) was a superhero to me,” Schaffer says. “Seeing her cover stories was awesome. I would chase fire trucks with her.”
Raines died when Schaffer was a junior in high school. Right before her passing, Raines discussed colleges and careers with Schaffer, who already had her mind made up.
A Mother’s Unexpected Voice
When Schaffer started at the Mount Vernon News, no one realized at the time the significance of the desk she was assigned. It was her mother’s.
“I went to check the voicemail one day and, it was her old voicemail system,” Schaffer said. “It was my first time hearing her voice in five years. The whole newsroom got quiet.”
“I got this little piece of her I never had. It was bizarre, but it was so cool,” Schaffer says.
Outside of journalism, Schaffer spends time with her husband, Curtis. They’re celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary on June 19.
In her free time, Schaffer enjoys reading and exploring the greater Youngstown area.
As she immerses herself in the Mahoning Valley, Schaffer says she’s excited to continue meeting people to help tell their stories.
Pictured at top: Lily Schaffer is a 2020 graduate of the Kent State journalism program.