We’re Portage County’s locally owned news source. Our mission is to help our community thrive.

The Portager is a new local news source for Portage County, Ohio. We cover local government, businesses and nonprofits, schools, and things to do around town. Our journalists have written for The New York Times, Newsweek and, yes, the Record-Courier. In fact, longtime Record-Courier editor Roger Di Paolo was on our board until his passing in 2021.

I support The Portager because Portage County needs a news source that’s invested in our future.
— Roger Di Paolo, Record-Courier editor (1991-2017)

We’re invested in Portage County

The publisher of The Portager is Ben Wolford, who graduated from Waterloo High School in 2007 and from Kent State’s journalism program in 2011. He has written for and edited magazines and newspapers around the world.

But home is home. Ben started The Portager in March 2020 to build a strong local news source for all of Portage County. Today, The Portager’s email newsletter and other channels reach over 80,000 readers every month.

The Portager is also proud to offer financial support to many community groups and nonprofits, including:

  • Ben Curtis Family Foundation
  • Coleman Adult Day Services
  • Family and Community Services
  • Fields Playground Group
  • Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary
  • Hunger Run
  • Kent Music Boosters
  • Kent Oktoberfest
  • Kent Rotary Foundation
  • Kent Social Services
  • Kent State Student Media
  • King Kennedy Community Center
  • Lions Club of Kent
  • Main Street Kent
  • Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard
  • Portage Animal Protection League
  • Portage Foundation
  • Randolph Suffield Atwater Food Shelf
  • Rural Relief Mobile Food Pantry
  • Standing Rock Cultural Arts
  • The Haven of Portage County
  • United Way of Portage County

Why local news matters

Research shows that communities with strong local news sources have…

Our vision for Portage County news

The Portager is already making a difference in our community. Because of our reporting, more people are attending public meetings, donating to charity and supporting local businesses.

We believe in the power of stories to foster solutions and solidarity. And we’re in this for the long haul. We’re constantly expanding our coverage and growing our readership — will you join us?

Watch Publisher Ben Wolford discuss The Portager with the Friends of the Hiram College Library

What our readers say

‘An essential service’
“I am elated at the return of local news, edited and written BY and FOR local people. Knowing what’s going on from Windham to Diamond, from Shalersville to Palmyra, from Hiram to Deerfield and all around our County is an essential service to the people of Portage County.”

Sally Burnell

‘Authentic and accessible’
“This local community news source is much needed in Portage County. It feels authentic and is accessible. In an age of big data companies using digital psychological manipulation, major disinformation campaigns, and the integrity of journalism at stake, The Portager is doing a great job covering topics local folks care about honestly.”

Jessika Easterling

The Portager team

Ben Wolford, editor and publisher, [email protected]
Natalie Wolford, managing editor, [email protected]
Wendy DiAlesandro, lead reporter
Tom Hardesty, senior editor and sports columnist, [email protected]
Rachel Abbey McCafferty, contributing editor

Want to join us? Write to [email protected].

The Portager board

Mike Beder, Kent entrepreneur
Jodie Fiala, owner of Jake’s Eats in Mantua
Jeff Fruit, former Director of the Kent State School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Barbara J. Hipsman Springer, Kent State University emeritus professor of journalism

In memory of Roger Di PaoloRecord-Courier editor 1991-2017, Portager board member 2020-2021


All Portager subscribers and advertisers contribute to make this publication possible. Some individuals have gone above and beyond to fund our projects and support the professional development of early career journalists.

Carl and Ann Schierhorn
Fred Endres
Roger Di Paolo



General contact and news tips
[email protected]

Advertising inquiries
[email protected]

3583 Randolph Road
Mogadore, OH 44260