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Marlene Harris-Taylor: On the Move


portrait of Marlene  Harris-Taylor

If you’re a Greater Clevelander, and a fan of public television, you’ve probably seen Marlene Harris-Taylor participate in the Reporter’s Roundtable during any number of episodes of “Ideas” on WVIZ Channel 25 (PBS) or on ideastream.org. She sometimes guest hosts the program, filling in for host Mike McIntyre.  


Currently the Director of Engaged Journalism for Ideastream, Harris-Taylor has spent nearly eight years with the public media outlet, starting out as a Health Reporter, and later becoming the Managing Producer for the Health reporting team.


As the Director of Engaged Journalism, Harris-Taylor is responsible for creating journalism initiatives that serve new audiences, and, in turn, creates new content with – and for – those audiences.


A Toledo native and journalist at heart – she received her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from The Ohio State University – Harris-Taylor’s road to Cleveland and Ideastream wasn’t a traditional one – she got here by way of Columbus and Washington, D.C. 


“I have a career that veered off the journalism path a few times, but I always seem to come back.  I’m most happy when I have a journalism-related job,” she says.

Early in her career, Harris-Taylor served as an intern for the Ohio Legislation Service Commission. During her time there she was one of four aides working for three senators: Mike White, who would later become the City of Cleveland’s mayor; Lee Fisher; and Toledo, Ohio representative Marigene Valiquette, the first woman ever elected to the Ohio Senate.  


radio microphone with laptop and coffee in background


“I always knew that I wanted to be a journalist, and I saw this job as a way for me to become more familiar with Ohio politics while I sought out a job in journalism,” says Harris-Taylor.

Her first broadcast journalism job was as a reporter at WOSU, a Columbus public radio station. 

“It was an all-news talk station, and it was a wonderful training ground because they operated very much like a newsroom. I started off on the school board beat.”


After spending approximately four years at the station and advancing from covering schools to city government, Harris-Taylor wanted to get to Washington, D.C. for a “big city” job.  


“I came across a program, the American Political Science Association, that managed several fellowship programs, allowing participants an introduction to working on Capitol Hill. One of the programs was specifically for journalists, and I applied and was selected. Soon after, I was on my way to D.C. where I was responsible for substantial government work.


In 2013, she made her way back to traditional journalism at the Toledo Blade as a staff reporter and medical editor. Fast forward to 2016, she landed her first position with Ideastream as a health reporter, but the skills she acquired in her previous roles made her quite the versatile hire. 


Podcast fans may be familiar with Ideastream’s Living for We podcast, which launched during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and explored racism as a public health crisis, and is part of the award-winning Connecting the Dots Between Race and Health project hosted by Harris-Taylor.  Currently in the works for Harris-Taylor is a new project focusing on gun violence.


Harris-Taylor is also a member of the Greater Cleveland Association of Black Journalists (GCLEABJ) and is looking forward to helping in any way she can as the organization ramps up to host the 2025 National Convention (NABJ) in downtown Cleveland in the summer of 2025.

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