Youngstown Publishing Co. Lands Major Capital Infusion

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – To fund an aggressive expansion plan, Youngstown Publishing Company Inc., doing business as The Business Journal, has finalized the terms of a capital investment from Jeff Leo Herrmann.

As part of the transaction, Herrmann was named chief executive officer and appointed to the company’s board of directors.

Andrea Wood, president and publisher, remains chairman of the board and was also named editor-in-chief. Michael Moliterno, also an investor in the company, remains on the board and vice president of operations.

Herrmann, an entrepreneur and investor in digital media content and analytical services, is a boomerang back to the Youngstown market after 20-plus years working with Fortune 500 companies on growth and digital transformation strategies.

“I am very bullish on the future of our region in northeast Ohio and western Pennsylvania and also on the future of The Business Journal and the Youngstown Publishing Co.,” he says. “In light of recent events with The Vindicator, we are poised to expand coverage and to deliver must-have news and information to our print and online audiences in the five-county region.”

On July 2, The Business Journal published in a letter to its readers and advertisers in which it announced that in light of The Vindicator ceasing publication Aug. 31, it was reviewing investment options to increase coverage of important news and local events. 

The letter stated that The Business Journal will add an I-Team to invest in investigative journalism and further build on its exclusive reporting on market transformation. 

Reporters, editors and graphic artists will be added to the existing full-time staff of 15 and coverage would be expanded in the following areas:

  • Local government
  • Local politics
  • Lifestyle, entertainment and culture
  • Education
  • Automotive
  • Real Estate

The Business Journal also announced that it intends to provide valuable information such as:

  • Legal filings
  • Real estate transactions and open houses
  • Obituaries
  • Listings of events, public meetings, etc.

“We’re taking a digital-first approach by leveraging, email newsletters, video and social media. We’re also exploring the option of increasing the frequency of the print publication,” Wood says.

Herrmann began working with The Business Journal early 2018 as a consultant. At the time, his goal was to help the company develop and implement a content studio that provided a new platform to engage readers and advertisers beyond the news coverage that The Business Journal provides in print and online. But after helping to craft the vision for the company’s future, Herrmann says he recognized the potential to do more.

In September 2018, he was appointed chief revenue officer, a newly created position, to help clients leverage the multimedia platform to drive growth. “The unique opportunity we have, to give advertisers creative ways to gain access to our audience, combats the issues they’re having getting the attention of overwhelmed and distracted consumers,” Herrmann stated at the time.

Very quickly, it became apparent that Herrmann’s employment was “pivotal to the next generation of leadership at The Business Journal,” says Wood, a former news anchor and executive producer at WYTV who co-founded The Business Journal in August 1984. 

Strategic planning followed, culminating in Herrmann’s appointment as CEO and investment in the Youngstown Publishing Co.

“Anytime you can find a company in an industry you love with an amazing team, excellent reputation and a loyal audience built from 35 years of journalistic integrity – it’s an investment opportunity you must take,” Herrmann says.

Moliterno, who invested in the Youngstown Publishing Co. in 2016, says Herrmann’s investment will take the company to the next level and comes at a crucial time for the state of journalism in the Mahoning Valley.

“Jeff Hermann brings with him a wealth of industry knowledge and skills that perfectly complement the existing team at The Business Journal,” Moliterno observes. “We’re proud to have one of our own back home, and excited to see what Herr-mann and The Business Journal are able to accomplish in the future.”

Herrmann will lead the development and execution of long-term growth strategies with the goal of increasing shareholder value, and scale growth opportunities through investment and resource allocation.

“Our business model is currently focused on advertising and subscriptions, yet there is tremendous potential in custom content and events, training and educational services.” Herrmann says.

“I’m passionate about collaborating with local companies and organizations such as the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, Youngstown State University and the Youngstown Business Incubator as we work together to attract business and strengthen the region’s influence on the national stage,” he adds.

“It’s an exciting time and the Youngstown Publishing Co. is moving forward.”

Pictured: Jeff Leo Herrmann, Andrea Wood and Michael Moliterno say The Business Journal is preparing to expand coverage in the wake of The Vindicator’s closing.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.