Investing in Quality Local News and Information

The Trust has become increasingly aware in recent years how a robust flow of high-quality information, reporting and insight is vital to all its undertakings. So the Trust was eager to participate when, in 2008, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation launched the Community Information Challenge, a five-year, $24 million initiative to help community foundations find creative ways to use new media and technology to keep communities informed. The Trust sought and was awarded one of the 21 initial Knight challenge grants in 2008 and then received a subsequent renewal grant through 2011. With those grants (which were matched by the Trust and supplemented by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation), the Trust created the Community News Matters program. McCormick Foundation, The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the Woods Fund of Chicago have since joined in funding the initiative.

NEW: An Evaluation of the Community News Matters Program

An Evaluation of the Community News Matters Program  

"The greatest strengths of the initiative come from the Trust's willingness to invest in substantive research and their ability to convene disparate parties for conversations focused not on problems, but on possibilities." Find out more about this four-year investment in developing high-quality, sustainable local information in the Evaluation of the Community News Matters Program by noted journalist Janet Coats.

Also by Janet Coats: an evaluation of the Local Reporting Awards. This initiative—a part of the larger Community News Matters program—funded reporting and analysis of local issues affecting Chicago's low-income communities. Find out how local journalists "tapped into voices and communities that go uncovered by traditional media" to "give us a sense of the breadth of life in these neighborhoods," then dive into the stories.

 


Foundation Leadership: Meeting Community Needs

The Knight Foundation profiled three foundations, including the Trust, who have used the Information Challenge in innovative ways that benefit their communities. Hear about their projects and find a full case study of the Trust's "new approach to information and media."


Community Information Challenge

Community News Matters was spurred by a lead grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Community Information Challenge, a five-year, $24 million effort to help community and place-based foundations find creative ways to use new media and technology to keep residents informed and engaged. Learn more about the their work with place-based foundations in this Report from the Field.

Online News Guides

News Reports

Where do Chicagoans get their online news? Two new studies identify and rank the 67 websites that have risen to the top of Chicago’s ever-changing online local news scene.

The sites are a diverse mix of city-wide, neighborhood, specialty and aggregator sites, produced by a variety of different providers: from nonprofits, startups and government agencies to mainstream media, national and local companies.

The research was funded by the Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Learn more

Chicago News Summits

Community News Matters has commissioned research into the region's most critical information needs and emerging media innovations. Flip through the reports below, or watch video and flip through presentations from the two Community News Summits where many were first presented.

Video, slideshows and more