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New team to investigate region’s biggest problems, search for solutions

Initial focus will be on the opioid crisis, local jobs and Dayton schools.

The Dayton Daily News has started a new team to dig into the most pressing issues facing the Miami Valley and search for solutions that have lasting impact.

The goal is to do meaningful reporting that leads to positive change and makes the region a better place to live and work, said Jana Collier, Cox Media Group Ohio vice president of content.

“We care deeply about the future of our community,” Collier said. “We want to do everything we can to make sure it’s moving in the right direction. That includes leading the conversation about how we get there.”

RELATED: How to get help: An opioid addiction resource guide

The Dayton Daily News Investigates team includes several veteran journalists: Investigative and Impact Director Samantha Sommer, Investigative Editor John Erickson, Community Impact Editor Ron Rollins, and Reporters Lynn HulseyJosh Sweigart and Katie Wedell.

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The team’s efforts will be packaged under the name The Path Forward. Its initial focus will be on three critical issues that must be addressed for the region to thrive: how the community changes its image as the center of the drug overdose crisis; how Dayton Public Schools can become more of a positive force for change in the region; and what needs to happen for the economy and workforce to be more robust and prosperous.

The topics were selected after talking to community leaders and asking hundreds of readers what they see as the biggest concerns.

“We know our readers expect from us in-depth, investigative reporting that matters,” Collier said. “That’s why we will devote significant time and resources to uncover solutions that will make a real difference here.”

CONNECT: Dayton Daily News Investigates on Twitter and Facebook.

Dayton Daily News Investigates also will engage the community alongside its reporting to increase the impact of its work, which will include hosting community forums, convening roundtable discussions and using social media to reach as many people as possible.

A community advisory board consisting of a diverse group of local leaders also will provide feedback and input on coverage.

This new team is an innovative addition to the important local reporting the newspaper has done for more than 100 years, Collier said.

“We want to mobilize the community to solve our problems together,” she said.

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