Sally Duros on Chicago Tonight, future of news and what’s happened since

After I wrote a series of articles for the Huffington Post on the promise of a mission-based news room L3C and the struggles of Chicago’s nascent news blogosphere I was invited to serve on a committee hosted by the Chicago Community Trust. With our input, the Chicago Community Trust in conjunction with the Knight Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation decided to develop a seed fund to fortify the city’s emerging news streams.

I was fortunate to land some consulting clients later in 2009 that lined up my work life squarely with my passion. That passion, to bring journalistic writing standards to the web and to bring the Web’s innovations to newsrooms – has absorbed my life for the past 20 years. I’ll be writing about that in columns to come.

One of my new clients was Andy Shaw, former Channel 7 news reporter and new Executive Director for Chicago’s Better Government Association. Together we developed a strategy and series of proposals for the BGA’s online presence. The other client is LISC-Chicago, whose anti-poverty and community development work is stretching the boundaries of community based multimedia. LISC-Chicago is also working in partnership with other news rooms like that of the Chicago Reporter and Catalyst to build a hyperlocal news bureau.

It was a year ago [March 31, 2009] that the Chicago Sun-Times declared bankruptcy and I was on a Chicago Tonight segment discussing the future of news in Chicago, the L3C mission-based newsroom and the state of the Sun-Times newsroom. Much has happened since then. The Sun-Times was bought by James Tyree and a group of investors. The Chicago Tribune unveiled its Chicago Now blog group. The Chicago News Cooperative, a “possible” news co-op and “maybe” L3C was unveiled. And Geoff Dougherty’s flagship NPO newsroom, The Chi-Town Daily News, closed its doors.

I have traveled extensively researching new media trends and surfacing ideas. I am still at it. There is more to come. And I am excited to share.

Update on U of C Booth L3C event

This is from the Linked In L3C Connect and Marc Lane:

Group: L3C Connect
Subject: Announcement from L3C Connect — U. of C. Seeks Foundations to Invest in Promising Medical and Scientific Research
Many university tech transfer offices are struggling with the funding gap associated with “translational research” that brings “orphan drugs,” medical devices, complex computing solutions, new materials and other technologies to market. While public and private-sector grants fund the initial stages of commercialization, the universities have struggled to secure funding to get to specific becnhmarks where angel or venture capital, or a licensing arrangement with a major company, would be attractive.

Booth Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago is doing something about it. Booth will be hosting a Mission Investment Forum — the first of many, it is hoped — built around the L3C. Students and professors will actively source and screen potential translational research deals coming from the University and other parts of the Chicago community. This same team will select three or four strong deals, conduct further research and then prepare the companies to make a presentation at the Forum. I’ve been asked to provide the educational component.

If you know of a foundation whose management may be interested in participating, particularly a foundation that has previously supported medical or scientific research through grants or investments, please let me know (at 312-372-5000) and I’ll be happy to provide the particulars. This is an extraordinary opportunity.


Ill gets L3Cs and Chicago Community Trust/Knight $ offered for news orgs of all types!

banner_2jpg.jpegWhat a week – Gov. Quinn signs L3Cs into law AND the Chicago Community Trust with the Knight Foundation Community Information Challenge offers funding for Community News that Matters to NPOs, to for-profits [we hope like the L3C], as well as to individuals – an incredible offering to the future of Chicago’s news stream!

Oh please, let’s see some collaboration here.The deadline is tight and fast approaching: Sept. 15.

Community News Matters

The Chicago Community Trust has created an innovative new program, Community News Matters, to spur the growth of new sources of local news and information about the Chicago region, in conjunction with the Knight Community Information Challenge. Through September 15, the Trust is soliciting proposals from nonprofits, for-profit businesses and individuals for new activities and projects that:

• Increase the flow of truthful, accurate and insightful local news and information in the Chicago region in new ways that engage residents, bring important issues to light, help people make sense of things and enable them to work together to find solutions;

• Help the Chicago region’s cutting-edge media innovators develop new forms, methods and models for providing this information that can be sustainable in the future.

There’s also a special information meeting:

Friday, August 21, 2009
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
26th Floor Conference Room
111 East Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601

The New News: Journalism We Want and Need, was the first part of the Community Trust’s initiative. The CCT went on to say:

Based on the findings of this report and recommendations received from the project’s advisory committee members, the Trust is issuing this Community News Matters Request for Proposals (RFP). The purpose of the RFP is to support and stimulate development of new ways to provide the Chicago region with the local news and information residents need to be good citizens and to improve both their quality of life and the vitality of their communities.

In November, the Trust will award grants and contracts to nonprofit organizations, individuals and for-profit companies for
activities and projects.

The CCT says awards may be as large as $100,000, most will be in the range of $25,000 to $50,000. But the CCT does not say how many grants it will be making or how large the fund is.

Booth School of Business seeking Foundations for L3C Social Venture Fair


Announcement from L3C Connect — University of Chicago to Facilitate Foundations’ Investment in L3Cs

The Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago will host a Social Venture Fair on October 26, built around the opportunities presented by the L3C, the the low profit limited liability company, social enterprise hybrid..The fair will include an educational component to be contributed by Marc Lane; a keynote luncheon talk by Sen. Heather Steans, the primary sponsor of Illinois’ L3C legislation; and presentations to social investors, including foundations, by entrepreneurs whose social ventures will have been vetted and selected by Booth’s MBA candidates.

Booth is seeking to identify foundations whose decision-makers may be interested in attending the Fair, to advance their understanding of the L3C’s potential to drive positive social change.