Community News Matters Info session Jan. 19 – be there!


If you live in Chicago and you report on happenings in your neighborhood, you might want to check out this grant program by the Chicago Community Trust. CCT and its partners are making small grants to fortify the news stream in underserved communities. You can read all about it on CCT’s website.

Attend the information session Wednesday, Jan. 19, to get the details and meet others who are involved in creating Chicago’s hyperlocal news system. I’ll be there – join me!

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 the creation of a one-year, $247,000 Local Reporting 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 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 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. The Initiative is funded by The Chicago Community Trust, Knight Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the McCormick 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 21, 2011.

Go to for a copy of the award application and Request for Proposals. For additional information, contact

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.