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Wood Inducted to Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame

By Marah Morrison
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Andrea Wood, publisher of The Business Journal, was inducted into the Press Club of Cleveland Hall of Fame Thursday night, becoming the first journalist from Youngstown to receive the honor.

Cleveland has a great tradition of outstanding journalists over its 132 years, said Richard Osborne, 2007 hall of fame inductee and former president of the club. 

“We’ve inducted people like Liberty Holden who founded the Cleveland Plain Dealer, E.W. Scripps who founded the Cleveland Press and a number of other outstanding folks,” he said.

What Wood has done in her career has kept journalism alive in the Youngstown area, Osborne observed. 

“She stepped up to the plate,” he said. “She knows journalism matters … and she walked the walk, not just talked the talk in Youngstown by creating this newspaper but she has an outstanding reputation.”

“As everyone here knows, the business of journalism is under attack – from those who deny facts and findings they don’t like as fake news, to the business model of newspapers – and the personal integrity of those of us who practice this profession with great care,” Wood said in a brief speech at the ceremony.

“We are fallible,. We make mistakes yet we endure, not as enemies of the people, but, like the Cleveland Press Club T-shirt says, as friends of the people.” 

Like journalism, Youngstown endures and so does its small business leadership, she continued. Small businesses that endured the hardships of the last 40 years and startups that deal with the challenges of these times. 

“They survive, grow and prosper because of the dedication of their employees,” Wood said. 

Since 1984, The Business Journal has served northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Wood’s passion for delivering news led her from a career in broadcast television at WYTV in Youngstown, television stations in Pittsburgh and South Bend, Ind., to become the president of the Youngstown Publishing Co. and publisher of this newspaper. 

By writing and producing documentaries, reporting on the rise and fall of a corrupt congressman and building a successful and still-expanding business in the challenged newspaper industry, Wood has broken barriers. She has a heart for bettering the Mahoning Valley and the Pittsburgh native has adopted it as her home. 

“Our Business Journal has been blessed by those who have dedicated their professional lives to its growth,” Wood said. 

When Youngstown was at its lowest point, Wood decided to launch The Business Journal, said Stacia Erdos, a close friend, former WYTV anchor and director of workforce campaigns at United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley. 

“She wanted to lift Youngstown up,” she said. “Andrea has been a trailblazer, visionary and one of the most talented reporters and writers that I’ve had the pleasure to work with, and is just a really caring person.”

The bus trip with Business Journal employees to the ceremony in Westlake was described as “more fun than he could have ever possibly imagined,” observed Ed Byers, past president of the Press Club of Cleveland, who joined the group.

“It certainly was a celebratory atmosphere, to say the least.”

The Hall of Fame committee was looking for inductees who were not just reporters that won a lot of awards, but people with a big, journalistic background who actually went out and did something, Byers said. 

“Andrea did something,” he said. “Not only did she transcend from TV to print at a time when Youngstown was on its heels, she went out and founded a business newspaper. There were people who thought she was out of her mind.”

Even though Youngstown was faltering, Wood took the opportunity to create The Business Journal in the wake of the retrenchment of the steel industry and ran with it. But it wasn’t a job she’s done alone. 

“Thanks to each and every member of our Business Journal family,,” Wood said at the ceremony. She named the 16 staff members, past and present, in attendance, recognized those back home “holding down the fort,” and saluted her husband, Dennis LaRue, “copy editor extraordinaire, my rock, the love of my life and my best, most frequent critic.” 

Also inducted into the  Press Club of Cleveland Hall of Fame were radio talk-show host Mark “Munch” Bishop, Northeast Ohio Catholic magazine editor Carol Kovach, Plain Dealer sports columnist Bill Livingston, WKYC assignment editor Lisa Lowry and retired Plain Dealer reporter Dick Peery.

Pictured: Andrea Wood, founder and publisher of The Business Journal, was inducted into the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame Thursday night.

Copyright 2019 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.