Flip on any local news station in Chicago and the focus will be on the Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast neighborhoods. Despite population increases in the city's low-income south and west side neighborhoods, traditional news outlets often fail to report on the issues important to residents of these communities.
But this may soon change thanks to Chicago Community Trust's support of the city's Local Reporting Initiative.
The Community News Matters Program of the Chicago Community Trust (CCT) approved $70,000 to go towards Local Reporting Awards for fourteen unique news projects that focus on issues affecting the underrepresented parts of Chicago. These fourteen projects plan to cover everything from Section 8 housing to LGBT imprisonment to youth homicide. (See Chicago Community Trust: Chicago Area Grants).
With almost a century of giving, the CCT has a rich history of helping promote journalistic diversity in and around the city. With similar intentions, they also funded the Community Information Challenge, which is a five-year, $24 million initiative to help community foundations use technology and creativity to keep the public educated and informed. The CCT and its donors contributed over $100 million to arts and community nonprofits in 2011 alone.
In a December 2012 press release, CCT's President of Program Ngoan Le said “The Trust is pleased to support innovative approaches to share stories written by and about the south and west side of Chicago. We can all benefit learning more about issues important to these communities."
The 2013 application process will begin in the late spring. To apply, nonprofit leaders must submit an online application. Upon review, the 12-member CCT selection committee will conduct interviews and make their final decisions. Updates about the upcoming application process will be made available on the Initiative's blog in the near future.