CHICAGO – The Community Renewal Society announced today that a highly regarded Chicago area news leader has been named to the top spot at The Chicago Reporter.

L. Nicole Trottie will take the helm as publisher starting today. The announcement builds on a strategic plan put in place to guide the future of Chicago’s top nonprofit investigative news organization focusing on race, poverty and income inequality.

“The Chicago Reporter has a rich legacy of investigative pieces that tell the stories of race, poverty and social injustice,” Community Renewal Society Board Chair Rev. Daryle Brown said. “In our months-long competitive search for our new publisher it was vitally important that we selected a visionary who has what it takes to carry that legacy forward. We found that in Nicole.”

The Chicago Reporter, an independent news organization started in 1972 by The Community Renewal Society, is regarded for its investigative, community-driven reporting on issues of inequality that comes with a depth of coverage not often found in traditional news media.

Trottie, the first African-American member of the Illinois Press Association’s executive board and the first African-American woman in Illinois to launch an accredited weekly newspaper, is the founder and former publisher of the West Suburban Journal Newspaper.

“So many communities suffer rampant economic and social injustice at the expense of good citizens,” Trottie said. “I’m honored to join The Chicago Reporter and help continue telling the stories of communities that are often poorly served by government and mainstream media.”

The Community Renewal Society partnered with Chicago-based executive search firm Carrington & Carrington throughout the process to find a new publisher.

Today’s announcement is the pinnacle of two years worth of strategic planning and stakeholder conversations to gather input from journalists and community members on how the paper can best continue to fulfill its mission of confronting racial and economic inequality through the power of independent investigative journalism.

“The Chicago Reporter has had an incredible impact on the Chicago area over the past 50 years,” said Rev. Dr. Waltrina Middleton, executive director of The Community Renewal Society. “Nicole’s journalism experience, her executive-level leadership, and her respect for all that a newsroom includes will ensure a strong, innovative start as we embark on the next 50.”

About L. Nicole Trottie (Publisher, The Chicago Reporter)

L. Nicole Trottie is the founder and former publisher of West Suburban Journal Newspaper, making her Illinois’ first African-American woman to launch an accredited weekly newspaper. Before that, her professional career spanned 12 years in the telecommunications industry.

Trottie’s inspiration to launch the West Suburban Journal was sparked by a void of media representation in communities of color. The weekly paper fills that void by maintaining a system of checks and balances through reporting on issues from a perspective that’s relevant and representative of the minority population. 

Trottie’s accomplishments in the field of journalism, business, and activism include several journalism honors and awards, the passage of legislation to help level the playing field for small- and Black-owned publishers, community organizing, the passage of the IL Digital Divide legislation, the NAACP Excellence in Journalism Award and countless local community-based awards.

In December 2004, U.S. Senator Barack Obama credentialed Trottie into the U.S. Senate – House Press Gallery. In January 2005, the Journal reported from the steps of the D.C. Rotunda, on the Senate Inaugural and swearing-in of the I09th Congressional Black Caucus. On the Hill, the Journal is affectionately known as “Barack’s hometown paper”.

Since its launch in 2004, the Journal tripled its weekly publication count and more than quadrupled its circulation from 6,000 to 30,000 under Trottie’s leadership, and today it boasts three weekly newspapers and two periodicals.    

In 2010, the Illinois Press Association (IPA), the largest association of accredited newspapers in the nation, took notice of Trottie’s accomplishments in the newspaper industry. She was unanimously voted a member of the Executive Board by the IPA governing body, making her the first African-American to serve among its executive ranks in its 150-year newspaper rich history. 

An active member of her community, Trottie was appointed and served as the NAACP DuPage Branch, President of Media Relations. She founded the Annual EDIFY SK Run/Walk to benefit Tabitha Community Services, a women and children homeless shelter based in the Chicago, Austin area. In addition to her involvement with the NAACP and charitable work; she served as a youth mentor for Mayor Daley’s Professional Mentor initiative and tutors in an adult literacy/GED program.

Trottie was born in Philadelphia. She received her undergraduate degree from Eastern Illinois University with a major in Political Science/Sociology and a minor in English, while simultaneously studying at Northern Illinois University College of Law, where she received the Program for Minority Access to Law School (P.M.A.L.S.) Scholarship.  Trottie obtained her MBA Certificate in Business Development and is a finisher of two consecutive Chicago Marathons.

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