The Neighborhood News
100 Years of Service to Southeast Cleveland
& the Southeast Suburbs
Vaclav Psenicka, a Czech immigrant, came to this country in 1905 with a dream – he wanted to start his own newspaper. With 18 years of experience under his belt on Czech newspapers in the Cleveland area, he was ready to make his dream come true. On September 26, 1923, The Neighborhood News was born.
“I started The Neighborhood News in order to be my own boss, to tell the truth, no matter whom might get hurt, and by helping others, help myself. I came from the ranks of common men. In my editorials, I tried to educate these ranks,” he later wrote.
With the help of his wife, Masha, who did all the bookkeeping for the paper and wrote a recipe column for it, The Neighborhood News grew into the largest weekly newspaper in the Southeast Cleveland area.
The Great Depression brought hard times to the Broadway-E. 55th area, but the “News” weathered the storm, and in 1932 the newspaper’s circulation climbed to over 15,000 each week, and a year later it increased to 20,000, and survived by advertising alone. The Neighborhood News from its inception was always a free newspaper, as it is to this day.
Joining the staff in 1952, as a reporter and ad salesman, was James V. Psenicka, son of the publisher. After a tour of duty in Guam with the US Navy, Jim became publisher of the paper in 1961, following his father’s retirement. The Broadway business community was thriving, as were the nearby steel mills. Young Jim Psenicka began what would be a tireless campaign in his editorial pages to get the mills to clean up the air pollution they caused.
Ellen M. Schemmer, who would become Mrs. James Psenicka, a graduate of Ohio University’s School of Journalism, joined the staff in 1969, and became managing editor in 1972. The Neighborhood News had several offices throughout the years, always in what is now know as Slavic Village. In 1982, the newspaper moved to its present location on Garfield Boulevard in Garfield Heights.
Jim’s son, Michael, joined the newspaper’s staff in 1992 as advertising manager, following studies at Kent State University and a degree in business from Cuyahoga Community College.
In 1999, The Neighborhood News was honored to be chosen Best Weekly Newspaper by the Neighborhood and Community Press Association of Greater Cleveland.
Following the untimely death of publisher Jim Psenicka in 2001, his editor-wife Ellen took over the publishing duties as well until 2017, when Michael became publisher and Ellen remained as editor. Elena Psenicka, an Eastern European immigrant and naturalized citizen of the US, became NN publisher in 2020, when a heart attack caused her husband’s sudden death.
One of Michael’s enduring legacies was joining with several other publishers of weekly, bi-weekly and monthly publications in 2018 and becoming a charter member of The Neighborhood and Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland (NCMA-CLE), which visualizes a Greater Cleveland with understanding across communities and participation from diverse voices so often ignored.
As The Neighborhood News begins its 100th year serving the residents of Southeast Cleveland, Garfield Heights, Newburgh Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Independence, Bedford, Maple Heights and Valley View, it holds fast to the dream of its founder in 1923 – to inform and educate its readers about what is happening in their own backyards.
And thanks are in order to all those readers, writers and businesses over its century of existence who have supported The Neighborhood News and made it the oldest weekly newspaper in the history of Greater Cleveland, with a new century dawning on the publication horizon.
THREE GENERATIONS OF PSENICKAS
1886 – 1961
JAMES V. PSENICKA
6/16/1932 – 5/28/2001
MICHAEL S. PSENICKA
8/13/1966 – 9/14/2020