Ann Thompson joining WCET-TV's new 'solutions based' TV program
Award-winning veteran WVXU-FM reporter-anchor will produce Brick by Brick TV shows and podcasts aimed at making "a real real difference in our community" on housing, equity and other issues.
It turns out that Ann Thompson hasn't left the building after all.
The award-winning longtime reporter-anchor left her job Tuesday at WVXU-FM to start a new job downstairs at WCET-TV, the public TV station which leases second-floor space to WVXU-FM in the Crosley Telecommunications Center at Central Parkway and Ezzard Charles Drive.
Thompson will lead the "new solutions-based journalism effort," called Brick by Brick, for Cincinnati's WCET-TV and Dayton's "Think TV" WPTD-TV, partners in Southwestern Ohio's nonprofit Public Media Connect.
Brick by Brick will include broadcast shows, a podcast, web stories and other content "dedicated to bringing creative solutions to long-standing issues, many of them rooted in our region's segregated housing," according to the media release. The public affairs initiative is an outgrowth of WPTD-TV's Emmy Award-winning documentary, Redlining: Mapping Inequality in Springfield and Dayton, last year.
"We saw an opportunity to make a real difference in our community by furthering those conversations around housing, equity and more. We are pleased to have Ann Thompson join our team and to launch Brick by Brick in the coming months," said Kitty Lensman, president and CEO of the Cincinnati and Dayton public TV stations.
Thompson, wholeft WVXU-FM earlier this week after 25 years, said she "heard about the solutions journalism project they were starting, was interested, and went to them to find out more," she told me.
"I'm thrilled to be part of this project. I find journalism to be more meaningful when there is a solution. I look forward to investigating and explaining what local communities are doing to help solve the issues affecting them," says Thompson, who twice has been honored by the Associated Press as the best large-market radio reporter in Ohio (2011, 2018). She also has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media.
The Lebanon native has more than 30 years of radio and television journalism experience in Southwestern Ohio. She worked for WKRC-AM, Dayton's WHIO-TV, WCKY-AM, the Metro Networks traffic and news service and as WVXU-FM's news director before Xavier sold the station to Cincinnati Public Radio in 2005. After graduating from Muskingum University, she was hired by WKRC-AM news director Richard Hunt and trained by coworker Chad Pergram, now at the Fox News Channel.
"I liked that CET and Think TV were planning to do both video and audio," she said.
Brick by Brick debuts next year. "There will be a broadcast show, podcast, articles. The exact frequency of each is to be determined as we dive into the issues," said Kellie May, director of communications and digital strategies for the stations.
Mark Lammers, the stations' director of local content, will be executive producer. The Brick by Brick team will include three new full-time staffers: Thompson; multi-media journalist Hernz Laguerre Jr. from Detroit NPR station WDET-FM; and a Dayton-based multi-media journalist yet to be hired.
From the release: "Brick by Brick differs in that it will be an ongoing series that takes a solutions journalism approach, highlighting how people are trying to solve problems and what we can learn from their successes or failures. By covering solutions to local and regional challenges, CET and ThinkTV can help equip people with the knowledge to envision and build a more equitable and thriving community. Lammers is looking forward to the role CET and ThinkTV can play in furthering important community discussions by exploring possible solutions to some of the area’s biggest issues."
"When we're talking about housing and community development, issues of affordability or availability, there are a lot of incremental solutions already underway in Southwestern Ohio that we're excited to examine. How do they really work and are they really working?" said Lammers in the release.
"There’s no silver bullet to the challenges we face, so a mix of solutions seems like it will always be necessary. Whether it's the use of land banks, home-equity-building rentals, public-private partnerships, office-to-housing conversions, or different approaches to neighborhood development, we'll be exploring them all. We're enthusiastic about bringing on these two excellent journalists to help us in this effort so that are neighbors can engage with these challenges in a more informed and positive way," he said.
Brick by Brick is made possible by lead gifts from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Debra and Robert Chavez, according to the media release. Additional major support comes from the Susan Howarth Foundation at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay (Howarth was WCET-TV president 2001-08until it merged with WPTD-TV); the Murray & Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation; the Dayton Foundation; the George & Margaret McLane Foundation; Laurie Johnston; Diane and David Moccia; the Stephen H. Wilder Foundation; and from more than 20 individual donors, the stations announced.