Chicago has a huge array of independent media outlets—from neighborhood to suburban and specialized news and features in print, broadcast and online forms. We all are contributing to Chicago’s news ecosystem and we all are suffering revenue losses during the COVID-19 crisis. Third Coast Review is joining 40-some other independent Chicago media in launching Save Chicago Media, a monthlong campaign to raise funds for this cross-section of for-profit and non-profit organizations.
The unprecedented collaboration behind this campaign is the new Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA—we pronounce it see-ma). The project was launched in 2019 by the Chicago Reader. Sixty media companies and nonprofit newsrooms belong to CIMA, which is coordinating grants, advertising and editorial projects to help strengthen the local media landscape.
The public can give at savechicagomedia.org through June 5. The website offers the option to donate one amount to be split among all of the outlets, or you can select one or more outlets to receive specific amounts.
“In independent media, we find ourselves in a unique and dangerous economic situation,” said Tracy Baim, publisher of the Chicago Reader. “In response to COVID-19, national news outlets are tallying death tolls and assessing the situation globally. While that coverage is important, it leaves the average citizen confused and unsure of how to proceed within their community.”
CIMA’s goal is to lift all boats through partnerships. Donations are not tax deductible, but those who want to provide money to a pooled matching fund can donate to the Chicago Independent Media Alliance 2020 Matching Fund at the Crossroads Fund. Several foundations have already committed to donating to the matching fund, and full details on the match will be available in mid-May.
Local media outlets like Third Coast Review deliver authentic, community-driven journalism, reporting on the stories, the artists and organizations that matter most to Chicagoans. That authenticity is always important but more essential than ever during this health crisis. Unfortunately, community media outlets are not getting the resources they need and are thus facing the real possibility of closure. This includes media serving African American, Latinx, Asian American, immigrant, LGBTQ and other Chicago communities.
A one-minute animated video was produced by artist Emma Biancak and narrated by multiple Chicagoans, including poet Kevin Coval in English and Yazmin Dominguez in Spanish. More translations by media outlets may become available in May. Amber Huff created the digital and print campaigns. The campaign hashtag is #SaveChicagoMedia.
Video in Engish:
Video in Spanish:
CIMA is a national partner with the Center for Community Media (CCM) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in CUNY. While CIMA is focused on boosting local media, it has the potential to inform the nation on Chicago’s media landscape via its partnership with CCM.
The Chicago Independent Media Alliance is made up of more than 60 outlets covering the African American, Latinx, Asian American, immigrant, LGBTQ, and other Chicago communities. CIMA believes there is no better way to reach the city’s most marginalized and underserved communities than through community media outlets for and by those communities. We stand for information, accessibility, and equity.
CIMA Joint Fundraising Partners
AirGo Radio: Podcast and media hub showcasing people reshaping Chicago for the more equitable and creative.
Better Government Association: The BGA’s in-depth investigative reporting exposes failings in Chicago and Illinois government.
Chicago Crusader: The Chicago Crusader is Chicago’s number one African American weekly newspaper.
Chicago Music Guide: Your guide to great music in Chicago. Music Promotions, resources and more.
Chicago Public Square: Free daily email news roundup for Chicago. The Reader poll’s pick for Best Blog.
Chicago Reader: The Reader, founded 1971, is Chicago’s in-depth and curated guide to culture, politics, and more.
The Chicago Reporter is an investigative news organization focused on race, poverty and income inequality.
CHIRP Radio: CHIRP is your live, local community radio station focused on independent music and culture.
Cicero Independiente: A volunteer-run, bilingual, independent news outlet for and by residents of Cicero.
City Bureau: Nonprofit civic journalism lab serving Chicago’s south and west sides
E3 Radio: E3 Radio is an online station playing queer and independent music. Queer radio done right.
Free Spirit Media: Opportunities for emerging creators (ages 14-25), primarily from communities of color, to produce and create.
Growing Community Media with Austin Weekly News (West Side of Chicago from Garfield Park to Austin and Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest (independent, intensely local, covering Oak Park and River Forest).
Hyde Park Herald: Hyde Park Herald is a weekly community newspaper rich in history and journalistic excellence.
Inside Publications: Skyline, Inside Booster, News Star newspapers: Your friendly 110-year-old neighborhood newspapers, serving Chicago’s north side.
Injustice Watch: Injustice Watch is an investigative newsroom that exposes systemic inequities in the justice system.
Invisible Institute: Invisible Institute works to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable.
Kartemquin Films: Kartemquin Films supports independent filmmakers producing social issue documentaries, fostering a more engaged society.
Korea Times Chicago: Most widely distributed daily publication for Korean news in Chicago.
La Raza Newspaper: The voice of Chicago’s Latino community for 50 years. La voz de la comunidad latina en Chicago por 50 años.
Left Out Magazine: Independent journalism, politics, culture, analysis, and debate by and about working-class Black people.
Loop North News: Loop North News serves the Loop and Near North neighborhoods of downtown Chicago.
Newcity: The publication of record for Chicago culture.
North Lawndale Community News: Providing news and information on resources and events that improve the lifestyle of individuals and families.
Public Narrative: Public Narrative exists to balance public health, safety and education narratives affecting marginalized communities.
Rebellious Magazine for Women: Rebellious Magazine for Women is a feminist news and culture website founded in 2012.
Rivet: Rivet tells the world’s stories and makes them engaging and fun.
Sixty Inches from Center: Midwest-focused arts publication and archiving organization that supports BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disability, and women’s culture.
SoapBox Productions and Organizing: Film and social activism non-profit specializing in multimedia storytelling for equity and structural change.
South Shore Current Magazine: Good news from Chicago’s Cultural Soul Coast—the southeast and southern shore communities.
South Side Weekly: Independent, nonprofit newspaper for and about the south side of Chicago.
StreetWise: Empowering those facing homelessness with access to employment to work toward self-sufficiency with dignity.
StudentsXpress Magazine: A magazine of art and writing by students in CPS, preK-8th grade.
The Beverly Review: Weekly newspaper covering Beverly Hills, Morgan Park, and Mt. Greenwood.
The Daily Line: The Daily Line does critical reporting on policy and politics for professionals.
Third Coast Review: Chicago’s online arts and culture magazine, specializing in quirky, underground aspects of the arts scene.
West of the Ryan Current Magazine: Good News from Chinatown to Roseland—on the south side, west of the Dan Ryan.
The West Side Current Magazine: Good news from Chicago’s west side—focused on pride, honor, and value of community.
Windy City Times: Windy City Times is an award-winning newspaper serving the Chicagoland LGBTQ community since 1985.