Collaborative Storytelling: Chicago

Each year, the Chicago Community Trust hosts On the Table, an opportunity for individuals and communities of diverse perspectives and backgrounds to come together to learn from and with each other in order to transform neighborhoods and lives. As part of this On the Table initiative, the Chicago Community Trust is generously supporting the Media Consortium to gather together 12-15 Chicago-based media platforms, focusing particularly on outlets engaged with self-identified communities (e.g. Latino, African-American, Chinese, LGBTQ, youth).

Over a three month period leading up to the On the Table day May 16, 2017, Media Consortium staff will work with these outlets to:

  • to foster new and substantive relationships among media outlets that serve different communities within Chicago;
  • to support development of a local media network for collaborative storytelling that provides more complete stories of Chicago’s neighborhoods;
  • and to expand the civic conversation nurtured at On the Table by helping to communicate the impact of those conversations in specific communities and neighborhoods.

Our longterm goals are to create a vibrant, ongoing set of collaborations and partnerships in Chicago that will cross-pollinate communities within Chicago with critically important stories, and that will boost Chicago stories that are not currently being told into the national independent media. The lead on this project is the Media Consortium's Associate Director Manolia Charlotin. Please address any questions to her.


New Economies Reporting Project

A member of the New Economy Coalition

The biggest news story right now is one that is not being reported: the emergence of a New Economy that “meets human needs, enhances the quality of life and allows us to live in balance with nature” (Vision Statement: New Economy Coalition). Building on the social venture movement, the environmental movement, and the many movements for racial and economic justice, the New Economy movement envisions a just transition to a better and stronger social, cultural and economic system.

The Media Consortium is supporting reporters in telling that story through the New Economies Reporting Project. This project is a collaboration with the New Economy Coalition and The Laura Flanders Show and is supported in part by the Park Foundation. 

Our New Economies Reporters for Summer/Fall 2017 are:

Deonna Anderson, Next City
Sarah Aziza, Waging Nonviolence
Emma Eisenberg, freelancer
Ayşe Gürsöz, Indigenous Rising Media
Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, In These Times
R. J. Lozado, Making Contact
Suzanne Pajot Porter, Public News Service
Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet
Cirien Saadeh, The Uptake
Mary Turck, The Uptake
Lewis Wallace, Scalawag

All reporters are welcome to join our monthly webinars. Here is our current schedule:

June 7, 2017: An Introduction to the New Economy (recording available--inquire here)

July 27, 2017: Financing the New Economy (for information, ask here)


Media Policy Reporting Project

(c) 2016 Center for Media Justice


Educating the public--and news outlets themselves--about media policy has become even more important under the Trump administration. Threats to net neutrality, proposed cuts to lifeline and e-rate servies, a lessening of regulations around prison phone rates, and a willingness to allow big media mergers all have the potential to leave Americans with less access to information, families, and the open internet. Decreased regulations around privacy, and increased means of surveillance, combine to leave our personal information less protected--and threaten our first amendment rights to free speech, and even to a free press.

To educate the public, the Media Consortium continues to conduct trainings for reporters on media policy issues, thanks to a generous grant from the Media Democracy Fund. We provide these trainings at our conference and at the IRE conference each year.

At TMC2017 we educated and trained reporters on

  • the threats to press freedom from surveillance
  • the threat to net neutrality
  • and we held a half-day workshop for reporters on protecting stories and sources from surveillance.

At IRE17 we organized a panel discussion on police surveillance that was attended by over 100 reporters.


Sanctuary Project

(c) Peoplesworld via GenProgress

A member-led project originating at TMC2017, the Sanctuary collaboration is designed to lift up the work people in the United States and around the world are doing to support refugees and undocumented immigrants through the creation of sanctuaries.

Currently, this project will consist of two parts:

1. Editorial Collaboration. There is a desire to see more collaborations between community and national independent media, and between rural, exurban and urban media, on sanctuary stories. The Media Consortium currently seeks funding to cover the costs of such a collaboration.

2. Distribution Partnership. Many Media Consortium members are already reporting on immigrant sanctuaries. The aim of this effort is to coordinate distirbution of these stories through an aggregated site, a common hashtag, and generous cross-posting via social media and on participating sites in order to increase the reach and impact of these stories.

For more information please contact Media Consortium Associate Director Manolia Charlotin.