Facing substantial drops in advertising revenue, 43 independent Chicago media outlets have joined forces to raise funds in a month-long campaign in May and early June. The for-profit and nonprofit organizations represent a wide cross-section of authentic community media in the city and nearby suburbs.
Growing Community Media, publisher of the Riverside-Brookfield Landmark, Wednesday Journal, Austin Weekly News and the Forest Park Review, is among the participants.
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 donors can select one or more outlets to give a specific amount to.
Dan Haley, publisher of Growing Community Media, said, “While we actively are working to grow donations to our own newsroom, we ask our readers to consider making a donation to this effort which is shared across all 43 of these worthy efforts in independent community journalism.”
“We who are in independent media 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.”
The campaign is being coordinated by the Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA), a project 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 assist in strengthening the local media landscape.
CIMA’s goal is to lift all boats through partnerships. Donations are not tax deductible, but those wishing 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.
The campaign hashtag is #SaveChicagoMedia.