Mission: To provide reliable, honest, unbiased, indepth, solutions-oriented reporting on issues essential to the engagement of Kentucky citizens in public affairs; to advance quality of life, respectful dialogue, and the public good; to preserve democracy; to matter; to work with Kentucky communities in need of reliable, professional local news media.
The Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism (The Center/KCPSJ) is a nonprofit (501-c-3 pending), nonpartisan, independent news organization that produces in-depth, informative journalism in the public interest for a place for which we have deep caring and affection. Focusing on the integrity of Kentucky’s public institutions and quality-of-life issues impacting the people of Kentucky, The Center will deal with issues including, but not limited to, the environment, economy, justice system, education, health, diversity, human rights, immigration and public safety and the impact of government policies on Kentucky residents. We aim to offer comprehensive searchable data bases with links and guides to allow citizens to do their own basic watchdog reporting. We mean to make maximum use of the latest tools of technology to advance the work of the Center, to engage citizens and to make the meaningful work produced under the auspices of the Center achieve optimum exposure.
In building this new model in Kentucky, the Center’s work focuses on stories with moral imperatives inherent in the public interest at a time when investment in this kind of journalism is not finding purchase in for-profit newsrooms. The great work of journalism in the public interest is an integral part of self-government and, because it informs and engages citizens, a bulwark of our democracy.
We will endeavor to build strong relationships, partnership, collaborations and networks to gather and share news and information in the public interest.
The Center has a board of directors, a cadre expert editors, advisers and dedicated reporting fellows, a strong network of highly-qualified, professional freelance editors and reporters, a wide-ranging body of collaborators of varied backgrounds, experience and expertise, and a diverse group of independent advisors.
Collaborative partners will include journalists, non-journalists, and educators, Kentucky institutions and organizations appropriate to subject matter, expert advisors, the media, and citizen representatives.
All stories will be shared broadly with Kentucky citizens and made available to all Kentucky media outlets, free of charge, in a timely way.
When possible and feasible, The Center will convene or cause to be convened public discussions around issues related to its reporting and the challenges facing Kentucky.
The Center, based in Lexington, contracts with professional journalists and others on specific in-depth stories or series of stories, engages student interns, collaborates with journalism classes and student journalists. Stories are assigned, expert advisors engaged, and deadlines established. A lead reporter and a lead editor manage each team and are responsible for the final product. Fact-checking assures accuracy and expert advisors assure the optimum possible fairness and breadth of the finished story or stories.
Who We Are
The Center is guided by a distinguished board of directors, an advisory board of journalism professions and engaged citizens representing diverse voices, and a wide range of collaborators.
Board: The Center’s directors are also its founders:
Judith G. Clabes
Judy is editor and publisher of KyForward.com, an online newspaper serving Kentucky. She grew up in Henderson, graduated from the University of Kentucky with majors in English, journalism and education, got her MPA from Indiana State University, and has four honorary doctorates, the latest from the University of Kentucky in 2010. She had a distinguished career in journalism and philanthropy. During 37 years with the E.W. Scripps Company she served as Scripps’ first woman editor, beginning with the Sunday Courier & Press in Evansville, IN., and then with The Kentucky Post. She was named president and CEO of Scripps Howard Foundation in 1996. On retirement from Scripps, she and her family moved to the Bluegrass region where they have a family horse-farming operation and she founded the Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative and her own consulting business before starting, with her family, KyForward.com. She has won numerous national, regional and state awards in journalism, philanthropy and community service. She is a member of the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, the UK Hall of Distinguished Alumni, and the Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame. In 2013 she received the Robert N. Clay award for most valuable board member from Bluegrass Tomorrow. She has long been involved as a volunteer in state and community affairs.
Mike Farrell, Ph.D., is director of the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center at the University of Kentucky and associate professor in the School of Journalism and Telecommunications. He is a founder of the NKyTribune.com and serves as its special projects editor. He was a journalist and editor for nearly 20 years at The Kentucky Post, serving as city editor and managing editor. He earned his Ph.D from the University of Kentucky. He and his wife Marsha live in Covington and are the parents of two grown sons – and proud grandparents to six young grandchildren. He is director of the University of Kentucky Spelling Bee and is deeply involved as a volunteer in civic affairs.
Lending his expertise in community journalism as a senior editor for KyForward’s reporting and editing staff, Gene Clabes, a UK School of Journalism graduate, award-winning reporter, and former owner/publisher of a group of award-winning community weeklies in Northern Kentucky. He was equine director for the Kentucky Equine Education Project for five years. He has also been a college-level teacher of journalism and served as president of the Kentucky Press Association. A native of Henderson, he started in journalism in high school as a sports reporter for The Gleaner, was managing editor of The Kernel as a student at UK, was an award-winning education reporter for The Evansville Courier and government reporter for The Evansville Press. He was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame in 2004 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by the University of Kentucky College of Communications in 2005. He is also responsible for KyForward’s strong social media presence.
• Constance Alexander, Murray State University
• David Boggs, Opportunities for Work and Learning
• Johnathan Gay, Kentucky Innovation Network, MSU
• David Hawpe, retired editor, the Louisville Courier-Journal
• Dr. Jan William Hillard, associate provost, Northern Kentucky University
• Shae Hopkins, Kentucky Educational Television (KET)
• Karen Zerhusen Kruer, Esq.
• Kyle Lake, Prosper Media
• Polly Lusk Page, director, N.Ky Education Council
• Terri McLean, news editor, KyForward
• Andy Mead, retired reporter, the Lexington Herald-Leader
• Greg Paeth, retired reporter, The Kentucky Post
• Bill Straub, retired Capitol Hill reporter, Scripps Howard News Service
• Al Tompkins, the Poynter Institute
• Shelley Whitehead, St. Elizabeth Hospital
• Bluegrass Tomorrow
• Campus Compact
• Children Inc.
• Kentucky Educational Television (KET)
• Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative
• Kentucky Innovation Network/Morehead State University
• Northern Kentucky Education Council
• Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
• Public Life Foundation (Owensboro)
• Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, UK
• Student Voice Team, Prichard Committee
• Prosper Media/kNOwmoreNonProfits
• United Way of the Bluegrass
• United Way of Greater Cincinnati
• Vision 2015
Senior Reporting Fellow
Terri Darr McLean has 30-plus years of writing and editing experience and a keen ability to recognize and tell a good story. She is news editor at KyForward.com. Much of her experience is at newspapers – a weekly, a small daily and, most recently, the Lexington Herald-Leader. She has been a reporter, copy editor, special section writer, free-lance writer and an award-winning, syndicated writer for the national Newspaper in Education program. She also worked at the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, where she wrote stories for the college news service and magazine, and was the student media adviser at Transylvania University for four years, advising students on the student-run newspaper and yearbook. Terri grew up in Henderson and studied journalism at Western Kentucky University.
Senior Reporting Fellow
Andy Mead retired from the Herald Leader after 34 years, where he distinguished himself as a reporter, with a particular interest in the environment. He also worked at the Boca Raton News for four years before coming to Lexington. He grew up in Savannah, Ga. and graduated with a master’s degree in history from Florida Atlantic University. He is a widower, living in Lexington, and has twins who are college freshmen.
Bill Straub served 11 years as the Frankfort Bureau chief for The Kentucky Post. He also is the former White House/political correspondent for Scripps Howard News Service. He currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, and writes frequently about the federal government and politics.
• Constance Alexander
• Gena Bigler
• Tom Block
• Lewis Donohew
• Johnathan Gay
• James Halcomb
• David Hawpe
• Art Landers
• Keven Moore
• Billy Reed
• Wayne Stacy
The Center is funded by individuals, foundations, organizations and/or corporations who share the values expressed in its mission statement. Any and all contributions are tax deductible to the extent defined by law. The Center actively seeks grants and other funding available to nonprofit organizations and provides no direct services in return for such contributions.
Our thanks go to our funders who support thoughtful journalism as a public service. We will fully disclose all funding sources and invite individuals to support our work.
The Ecological Sustainability Institute, Northern Kentucky University
Greater Cincinnati International Airport
KyForward.com, Kentucky’s online newspaper
Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative
Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
Tri-County Economic Development Corp.
Frost, Brown, Todd attorneys
Gateway Community & Technical College
Lawrence & Associates
Northern Kentucky University
The Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, University of Kentucky
Scripps Howard Foundation
St. Elizabeth Hospital
Thomas More College
Taliaferro, Carran & Keys, PLLC
Less than $999
Azur Restaurant Group
Tom and Karen Kruer
Robert G. Cooper
Rosemary Weathers Burnham
Jeff and Cassie Wagner
Theresa M. Hammons