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Economic pressures on one hand and continuing democratization of news on the other have already changed the news picture in Chicago, as elsewhere in the U.S. The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times are in bankruptcy, and local broadcast news programs also face economic pressures. Meanwhile, it seems every week brings a new local news entrepreneur from Gapers Block to Beachwood Reporter to Chi-Town Daily News to Windy Citizen to The Printed Blog.In response to these changes, the Knight Foundation is actively supporting a national effort to explore innovations in how information, especially at the local community level, is collected and disseminated to ensure that people find the information they need to make informed decisions about their community's future. The Chicago Community Trust is fortunate to have been selected as a partner working with the Knight Foundation in this effort through the Knight Community Information Challenge. For 94 years, the Trust has united donors to create charitable resources that respond to the changing needs of our community -- meeting basic needs, enriching lives and encouraging innovative ways to improve our neighborhoods and communities.Understanding how online information and communications are meeting, or not, the needs of the community is crucial to the Trust's project supported by the Knight Foundation. To this end, the Trust commissioned the Community Media Workshop to produce The New News: Journalism We Want and Need. We believe this report is a first of its kind resource offering an inventory and assessment of local news coverage for the region by utilizing the interactive power of the internet. Essays in this report also provide insightful perspectives on the opportunities and challenges.
Only a third of Chicago-area nonprofits appear to have full-time communications staff. On the other hand, nearly half have received some news coverage in the past year or two. These are two key findings from a survey of 212 grantees of The Chicago Community Trust that we undertook in October 2007, informed by several years of baseline studies of many who access our services.
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