Members of the St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Syracuse attend a prayer vigil for peace, Sunday February 27, 2022. Mike Greenlar | The Central Current

Editor’s Note: As we close out Central Current’s very first year in publication, our team is reflecting on our coverage and the most important stories of 2022.

For one day this week, we’ll highlight each of our three coverage areas — Government & Politics, Justice & Equity, and Arts & Culture — to reflect on some of the best stories we’ve told, and the stories we hope to tell next year.

How do you think we’ve done so far? Have we identified the gaps in local news coverage most in need of more reporting? What did we do well in our first few months of publishing? What could we do better? We would love to hear from you with story ideas and feedback. Send our editorial team an email at

People of Central New York

People are what make Central New York special — so it’s no wonder that Central Current instantly began connecting with and writing about the inspiring people here.

Our very first story was about the Ukrainian community in Syracuse, which gathered to mourn as Russia first attacked the country in February. Freelance writer Renée K. Gadoua and photographer Michael Greenlar were there to capture the emotion that day.

As we launched our new website in the spring, we shared the stories of Onondaga Earth Corp., a group planting thousands of trees across Onondaga County, and of the Community Folk Art Center, which celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special dance performance.

More recently, we published an in-depth, thought-provoking piece by freelance writer Gabriel Pietrorazio on the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. The story is filled with people working to preserve culture, tradition and language.

New features reporter

Central Current staff writer Yolanda. Mike Greenlar | Central Current

Central Current will continue to expand its Arts & Culture coverage with the hiring of its second full-time reporter, Yolanda Stewart.

Stewart has already contributed storytelling about people and events in Syracuse, while working part-time, with her coverage of a slam poetry open mic series at 210 Teas and the Upstate New York Artist Showcase.

Stewart, a graduated of Syracuse’s Newhouse School, is a native of the Bronx who is passionate for the arts, people and places, which she hopes to carry into her journalism career in Central New York.

She brings a depth in storytelling to each assignment, such as in her recent story about Syracuse nonprofit Unchained’s ‘GIFT gang’ gift-wrapping event. The group each year helps parents behind bars get Christmas presents to their children.

Stewart will help expand and establish Central Current’s Arts & Culture coverage, to include stories about events, goings on about town, people, communities and solutions to problems facing Central New York. Her reporting will span performing and visual arts, neighborhoods and schools, entrepreneurs and artists. She can be reached at

Photo of the Week

American literacy pioneers, Ruth Colvin age 105, and Geneva Hayden age 89, meet up at the Light a Candle for Literacy Parade & Book Festival 2022 at Brighton Academy Middle School in Syracuse on September 10. Photo by Mike Greenlar | The Central Current.

We introduced the “Photo of the Week” feature in September, bringing you regular photojournalism from our talented contributors Michael Greenlar and Michelle Gabel.

The feature was inspired by work with Greenlar — in particular the photograph seen above of Geneva Hayden and Ruth Colvin at this year’s Light a Candle for Literacy Parade and Festival, originally shared to his Facebook page. The “Literacy Pioneers” image was just one example of Greenlar’s constant, quiet presence at events in Syracuse. He’s there to capture so many important moments, scenes and people in our community.

We’re honored to provide a home to publish more of these photos, and plan to invest in more high-quality photojournalism in 2023. It’s one of the things we hope sets us apart.

Gallery reviews and more by Carl Mellor

Longtime arts writer Carl Mellor, whose byline many might recognize from The Syracuse New-Times, reviewed several galleries for Central Current in 2022.

We’d draw your attention to his write-ups of the Degenerate Art Show at the new Station Gallery, and “Forever is Composed of Nows,” at the Everson (still available to view for a couple more days).

Mellor also wrote a widely-shared story on holiday shopping in Syracuse, and where to find the best handcrafted, locally-made gifts in town.

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Julie McMahon

Julie McMahon is editor-in-chief of Central Current. She's lived and worked in Syracuse as a reporter, editor and professor of journalism for more than a decade. Contact Julie at