Joe Wessels is a political information systems and public relations consultant with expertise in new media. His professional career has included work as a print journalist, columnist, photographer, Blogger, and radio show host.
As Communications Director for the Steve Driehaus for Congress campaign – called one of six “Best House Campaigns of 2008” by The Washington Post – Wessels pioneered applications of new media and traditional marketing in the political sphere to successfully elect Driehaus to replace a 14-year incumbent. Wessels worked closely with the candidate and the operations team to design the campaign message, dynamically respond to the volatile campaign environment and build the organizations capacity to interact with the electorate.
Wessels’ journalism career has included writing and photographing as a staff writer and freelance contributor for several publications, including his weekly opinion column in Cincinnati CityBeat. Prior to that, he was The Cincinnati Post’s lead Ohio beat reporter and columnist, covering Cincinnati and Hamilton County government and politics. Wessels also reported business, news features and breaking news. He previously served as the technology and real estate staff writer for the Cincinnati Business Courier.
Wessels’ body of journalistic work has included first-person narratives, travel, dining and sports articles for The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincy Magazine, Sacramento News & Review, The Kentucky Enquirer and The Kentucky Post. His training included stints as a reporting intern for The Cincinnati Enquirer and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Along with his written work, Wessels’ photography has appeared in The Cincinnati Post, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Business Courier, The Cincinnati Herald and CityBeat. He has hosted three separate public affairs radio shows in Cincinnati, winning two local awards for his work.
Wessels previously served the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) as Region Four Director, overseeing chapters in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania. Prior to that, he was two-term president of SPJ’s Cincinnati Professional Chapter from 2004 to 2006, where he successfully revived the standing of the organization in the Greater Cincinnati area, increased the size of the organization and formed a highly productive relationship with the National Association of Black Journalists. His efforts earned him a 2005 President’s Award and a nomination for the Howard S. Dublin Outstanding Pro Member Award. Wessels is also co-founder of the Cincinnati Press Club.
Active in the community, Wessels serves on the boards of several community organizations including CincyPAC, a political action committee for young professionals; WVQC, a community low-power public FM radio station; and A Small Group, a civic engagement group founded by author Peter Block.
A native of Colerain Township in Southwestern Ohio, Wessels studied journalism and psychology at the University of Cincinnati and lives in the City of Cincinnati. Wessels’ hobbies include amateur radio, stand-up comedy and artistic photography.