Public Media Connect, CET, ThinkTV hires journalist to produce Brick by Brick Project


DAYTON – Public Media Connect, the regional partnership of CET in Cincinnati and ThinkTV in Dayton, has announced the organization has hired award-winning journalist and radio host Ann Thompson to lead the stations’ new solutions-based journalism effort.

Called “Brick by Brick,” the project will include a podcast, broadcast shows, web stories and more, all dedicated to bringing creative solutions to long-standing issues, many of them rooted in our region’s segregated housing.

“We’ve long seen the importance of furthering a community affairs initiative in both Cincinnati and Dayton. When we produced the 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 CET and ThinkTV President and CEO Kitty Lensman, in a press release.

The station has added three new full-time positions to run the program alongside Mark Lammers, CET and ThinkTV’s director of local content, who will serve as executive producer. Thompson, known locally for her work with WVXU, will be the project producer. Thompson has more than 30 years of radio and television journalism experience and was named Best Reporter for large market radio in Ohio in 2011 and 2018. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.

“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,” Thompson said.

CET and ThinkTV has also hired multi-media journalist Hernz Laguerre Jr., who has worked with Detroit’s NPR station, WDET. Hernz will be based in Cincinnati. The Dayton-based multi-media journalist position is still in the process of being filled.

CET and ThinkTV have long been committed to community affairs programming, creating such offerings as Urban Consulate Presents, the American Graduate Town Hall, multiple political debates and more. 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? 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 our neighbors can engage with these challenges in a more informed and positive way,” Lammers said.

“We all want a thriving future for our communities, so let’s explore how we might build that together, brick by brick,” he added.

The Brick by Brick project is expected to launch in early 2024. Brick by Brick is made possible by a lead gifts from Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Debra and Robert Chavez with additional major support from Laurie Johnston; Susan Howarth Foundation at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay; The George & Margaret McLane Foundation; Diane and David Moccia; The Dayton Foundation; Murray & Agnes Seasongood Good Government Foundation; The Stephen H. Wilder Foundation; and from more than 20 individual donors.

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