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Contact: Eva Penar [email protected] 312.616.8000 x 161

Foundations Create Local Reporting Initiative For Low-Income Communities The Chicago Community Trust Explores Development of an Advertising Network for Online News

January 10, 2011, Chicago – The Chicago Community Trust , our region’s community

foundation, announced announced the creation of a one-year, $247,000 Local Reporting Initiative Initiative to stimulate a wave of new reporting and analysis of important issues affecting low-income communities on the south and west sides of Chicago. “High quality reporting and analysis is the lifeblood of civic life,” said Ngoan Le, vice president  of program for The Chicago Community Trust. “With so many important decisions affecting our ou r city, county and state in the coming year, it’s essential that citizens and policy -makers know what’s at stake.“ As part of this Initiative, the Trust issued a request for proposals from nonprofits, for-profit  companies and individuals for Local Reporting Awards totaling $110,000. Some of the awards will be for $2,000 each and others will be for $10,000. Le said she hopes that “policy groups, community organizations, media outlets of all kinds and individuals who care about these communities will be inspired inspired by the Initiative to step up” with proposals for new reporting projects. The Initiative is part of the Trust’s Community News Matters program, launched in 2009 by an initial grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to increase the flow of truthful, accurate and insightful local news and information and help the region’s cutting edge innovators develop new models for providing news and information. information. The Initiative is funded by The Chicago Community Trust , Knight Foundation, Foundation, the John D. and Catherine Catherine T. MacArthur MacArthur Foundation and the McCormick Foundation. Foundation. The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and Woods Fund of Chicago provide funding for other Community News Matters activities.  All those interested in applying for an award through the Local Reporting Initiative should attend a special information session January 19 from 10 a.m. to noon on the second floor at 618 South Michigan Avenue. Proposals are due by noon February February 21, 2011. Go to www.communitynewsmatters.org for a copy of the award application application and Request for Proposals. For additional information, contact [email protected] contact [email protected]

The Community News Matters program also announced that it has commissioned a feasibility study, to be completed by February 28, of the possibility of establishing an advertising network  to support Chicago’s media innovators. “Finding ways to pay for the news and information citizens need is one of the critical challenges of our age,” Le said. “Chicago is blessed with a wealth of new media innovators trying to develop new models for the future. We are happy to enable them to explore whether, by banding together, they might be able to generate additional financial support for their vital work.” The Local Reporting Initiative is a direct response to the findings of a 2010 Community News Matters research report that found “all too often, people in the Chicago area don’t feel they know enough about the region’s challenges,” said Clark Bell, the McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program Director. “Residents of low-income South Side and West Side neighborhoods are especially concerned about the lack of news organizations covering relevant  issues in their communities.” (The study, News That Matters: An Assessment of Chicago’s Information Landscape, will be released this winter. See a preview of its findings here.) The goals of the new Local Reporting Initiative are to:

Produce in 2011 a burst of impactful relevant coverage of, by, and for the project’s target communities that sheds light on current and future decisions of city, county and state governments; Stimulate the emergence of sources and voices of coverage that can help fill the information gap in these areas; Develop new ways and channels to spread high-quality, civically relevant  information and build interest and engagement among citizens. The target communities are low-income neighborhoods on the south and west sides of  Chicago, including Archer Heights, Armour Square, Auburn Gresham, Austin, Avalon Park, Bridgeport, Brighton Park, Burnside, Chatham, Chicago Lawn, Douglas, East  Garfield Park, East Side, Englewood, Fuller Park, Gage Park, Grand Boulevard, Greater Grand Crossing, Humboldt Park, Kenwood, Lower West Side, McKinley Park, New City, North Lawndale, Oakland, Pullman, Riverdale, Roseland, South Chicago, South Deering, South Lawndale, South Shore, Washington Heights, Washington Park, West Englewood, West Garfield Park, West Pullman and Woodlawn. The Initiative includes:


$110,000 in Local Reporting Awards to be awarded to individuals, nonprofits and for-profit companies. Community Media Workshop and the Chicago Reporter will jointly manage the awards program.


$35,000 to The Chicago Reporter for project administration and for an in-depth reporting project. Experts from the Reporter will provide ongoing guidance, editing and other assistance to award winners, as needed, to help them maximize the quality of the reporting projects.


$35,000 to the Community Media Workshop for project administration and for various activities to maximize dissemination of the work produced by award winners, including a regular blog featuring reporting produced by the projects, by CMW, the Reporter and other sources; active use of social networks; and spearheading of other joint dissemination efforts with award winners.

4. $35,000 to Windy Citizen.com Inc. t o develop a mobile application and scalable widget system to enable WindyCitizen.com to better distribute and collect content  off-site. 5.

$17,000 to Gapers Block Media LLC for original reporting on GapersBlock.com about issues affecting the Initiative’s target communities.

6. $15,000 to Columbia College for advertising sales development for AustinTalks.org, a website and newsletter covering the Austin neighborhood. Regarding the advertising network feasibility study, Joe Michaud, owner of Local Interactive Strategies LLC of Cumberland, Maine, has been commissioned to assess the feasibility of forming an ad network of Chicago area news and information sites. He will interview local site operators, advertisers, potential ad sales partners and operators of other networks and evaluate likely revenue and expenses, sales approaches, technology and other resources needed and the capacity of likely participant sites to support and use a network. An online news pioneer, innovator and consultant on interactive products and sales, Michaud developed and launched MaineToday.com. He is a former president of the New England New Media Association. About The Chicago Community Trust  For 95 years, The Chicago Community Trust, our region’s community foundation, has connected the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. In 2010, the Trust, together with its donors, granted more than $100 million to nonprofit organizations: developing new audiences to sustain Chicago’s vibrant  arts organizations, protecting the human success safety net for those hardest hit by the recession, stemming the devastating effects of foreclosures on our communities, elevating teaching to meet world class standards; and improving conditions for healthy and active lifestyles. To learn more, please visit the Trust online at www.cct.org.

The Community News Matters program is part of the Knight Community Information Challenge, a five-year, $24 million effort to help community foundations find creative ways to use new media and technology to keep residents informed and engaged. The Trust received one of the Challenge’s first matching grants. The challenge is premised on the belief that in a democracy, information is essential for a community to function properly and that community foundations are logical partners for meeting community information needs. About the Community Media Workshop Since 1989 Community Media Workshop has worked to diversify the voices in news and public debates by providing a unique mix of communications coaching for grassroots, arts and other nonprofit organizations and sourcing grassroots and community news for journalists. Connecting the community with media, the Workshop promotes news that matters. About The Chicago Reporter The Chicago Reporter's investigations engage leaders and concerned citizens in critical issues – all with a unique focus on race and poverty. The bimonthly print and online newsmagazine serves as an important watchdog of government and other institutions. Now in its 39th year, its pioneering use of sophisticated data analysis, multimedia features and compelling personal accounts continues to make an impact. Used by politicians and government officials, policy makers, academics and concerned individuals nationwide, the Reporter still breaks news and influences agendas.


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