The Chicago Reporter is partnering with the Chicago Community Trust and Community Media Workshop this year to provide a burst of local coverage by, for and about underserved communities on Chicago’s South and West sides. In April, through its Community News Matters initiative, the Trust will award a series of $2,000 and $10,000 local reporting awards to fund original reporting and fact-based analysis in 2011. The funded work will focus on how important issues facing the city, county and state are affecting or will affect residents of low-income neighborhoods on the South and West sides of Chicago.

This program is designed to add significant amounts of new information to the local news ecosystem. Winning projects will involve original reporting or original data analysis. They also will provide coverage either for or about the target communities, which include nearly 30 South and West side community areas with median incomes below the citywide median. In a survey conducted last year by the Trust, residents of several South and West side communities indicated that they were not satisfied with the quantity and quality of media coverage their communities received.

The Reporter and Community Media Workshop will help manage the selection of winning projects and provide technical assistance to grantees. Most of the projects will be published this year between May and November. For more information, visit and search for “local reporting awards.”

In February, the Reporter launched a subscription campaign with a full-color, tri-fold brochure; four-minute and five-minute video brochures; and advertisements in the print and online editions of the Chicago Reader,, and The campaign features offers for free PDF subscriptions with every $30 two-year print subscription and every $20 one-year print subscription. The two-year subscriptions also come with a free Reporter messenger bag.

The campaign also features $10 one-year, PDF-only subscriptions. In addition, current print subscribers receive a free Reporter messenger bag when they refer two others to subscribe.
To view the video and subscribe, visit and click on “subscribe.”

Alden is the senior editor of WBEZ's race, class and communities desk. Previously, he served as the director of research and evaluation for the Metropolitan Planning Council, investigator and later as...