About

The Reporter was founded in 1972 by John A. McDermott to measure Chicago’s progress toward racial equality as the civil rights era ended. Since its inception, it has been housed at the Community Renewal Society, a faith-based social justice organization.

As one of America’s most segregated cities, Chicago continues to experience racial and economic inequality. The Reporter serves a critical role in the city and nation by focusing the power of investigative reporting on issues of inequality that rarely receive thorough and regular examination by mainstream media organizations. Our core areas of coverage are criminal justice, affordable housing and economic development, jobs and transportation.

The Reporter’s investigations have had a significant impact on policy and the public discourse in Chicago.  In the 1980s, then Mayor Harold Washington cited the Reporter’s work in addressing longstanding racial inequalities in the distribution of city services. Almost 25 years later, the Reporter’s investigation of racially disparate home mortgage lending sparked a lawsuit by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan that resulted in an $8.7 billion settlement with Countrywide Financial. And in 2015, the Reporter was the only media organization in the city to acquire a video of a police officer shooting into a car of unarmed African-American teenagers, one of many cases of police-involved shootings leading up the release of a video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Editorial Independence Policy

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News:

Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue. Acceptance of financial support does not constitute implied or actual endorsement of donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorship from individuals and organizations for the general support of our activities, but our news judgments are made independently and not on the basis of donor support.

Our organization may consider donations to support the coverage of particular topics, but our organization maintains editorial control of the coverage. We will cede no right of review or influence of editorial content, nor of unauthorized distribution of editorial content.

Our organization will make public all donors who give a total of $5,000 or more per year. We will accept anonymous donations for general support only if it is clear that sufficient safeguards have been put into place that the expenditure of that donation is made independently by our organization and in compliance with INN’s Membership Standards.

We are grateful for the support of all of our donors. The McCormick Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Ford Foundation, and Conant Family Foundation provide more than $5,000 per year.