Ohio Senate Republicans have a state-funded site for news, but now Democrats have one too
A webpage sponsored by Ohio Senate Republicans that puts out stories about legislation and political issues has received controversial attention in recent months. But Senate Democrats have been quietly operating a page of their own in recent months.
However, the minority leader of the Senate said it is different than the one sponsored by the majority caucus.
Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) said Democrats had been talking to leaders of the chamber about establishing a site to highlight accomplishments and produce stories from members of both parties. But she said around the beginning of 2023, Republicans decided to launch a page of their own.
"Part of the reason why they created their website and some of the articles that they put there is that they can't get them posted in other media outlets. We have not had the same experience," Antonio said.
The Republican Senate online site "On the Record" has routinely lambasted mainstream news outlets for the way they've covered issues and legislation, or for not covering those at all. And media outlets have questioned the accuracy of material on that site, most recently around the reproductive rights and abortion access amendment voters approved in November.
When asked about the Democratic website, John Fortney, communications director for majority Senate Republicans, chided specific Ohio news outlets that he thinks are kind to Democrats, and have also been criticized on the GOP's "On the Record" site.
Fortney said in a statement that reads in part: "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, although it is interesting they'd want to copy our idea when they already have their own statewide newsroom."
The Democratic page has been operating since October with much less fanfare than its GOP counterpart. Antonio said Democrats wanted to get the word out about what they are doing so they established a site of their own, called "The Democratic Standard."
“We do have standards and we want to make sure that we honor and respect those standards as we present information to the people that we serve, the people that we represent," Antonio said.
The Democratic site isn't as big as its Republican counterpart, in part because it was created later in the year.
"We have a smaller staff than they do," Antonio said.
A pull-down bar for both "On the Record" and "The Democratic Standard" can be found under the "news" tab on the Senate's website.