AP NEWS

Nikki Delamotte left a mark that Cleveland will not soon forget

November 14, 2018

Nikki Delamotte left a mark that Cleveland will not soon forget

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A proud banner runs atop Cleveland.com, the sister website of The Plain Dealer. The tagline on the banner reads “We are the Stories We Share: highlighting the impact of our local journalism.”

That tag has never been more painful and poignantly true than the present. Murder has visited Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer. Today, we truly are the stories we share. Today, two newsrooms that harbor something of a sibling’s animosity, are united in grief.

Nikki Delamotte, a Cleveland.com reporter and Cleveland Heights resident, was shot to death in an apparent homicide just outside of Toledo. The bodies of Delamotte, 30, and Robert J. Delamotte, 67, her uncle, were found Monday in the Friendly Village mobile home park, where Robert Delamotte lived. As of Tuesday afternoon, police investigators were still trying to unravel what happened.

The shock and sorrow over Nikki’s death will continue to reverberate throughout Greater Cleveland. Her demise is much more than a strange murder mystery that is bound to attract the attention of news outlets and storytellers from around the nation. Her death is also a stark and useful reminder that the work of one committed and resourceful reporter can truly touch the lives of many.

I never met Nikki, but here’s how Chris Quinn, president and editor of Cleveland.com, described her in a story published Monday:

“She had strong positions and backed down from no one, but she did so with gentleness and, always, respect. She was such a bright light, and Cleveland has a dimmer future for her loss,” said Quinn.

No editor should ever be forced to publicly eulogize a young talent, whose career is still early in its ascendency. No newsroom should ever be forced to mourn the premature passing of a cherished colleague. But, Nikki’s legacy is already discernible. It is revealed in the way people grieve.

Rarely has Greater Cleveland seen an outpouring of condolences and words of encouragement from so many different quarters for such a young professional. Nikki’s work ethic and talent is being praised by agencies as diverse as the Cleveland Institute of Art, the Beachland Ballroom and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown took to Twitter to note Nikki’s passing as did All Aboard Ohio, an advocacy group that lobbies for more passenger trains and improved public transit. The sheer volume of the response to her passing is humbling and encouraging.

Nikki demonstrates in death that the press continues to provide the connective tissue needed to form a vibrant community. The outpouring of condolences and genuine displays of grief illuminate an essential understanding that a city’s cultural, social, and political health continues to work hand-in-glove with a healthy press.

Many of the journalists who now mourn Nikki started working in the industry before she was born. Many of us have covered courts and crimes at some point in our careers. That’s why the shocking murder of one of our own hits us at home.

In these uncertain and often confusing times, it’s heartening to affirm that the general public recognizes that the untimely death of this committed journalist is more than a loss to her employer. Her demise is also a loss to the community she served and worked to understand. Nikki Delamotte is now celebrated even as she is mourned. This reality reminds us that a community and its independent press must continue to reflect the needs and aspirations of each other.

Nikki Delamotte enriched our lives. She is a story we now share and will not soon forget.

AP RADIO
Update hourly