Monthly Archives: November 2009

Congratulations Chicago New Media Groups!

November 12

Big development. Three foundations, as reported several days ago here in Crain’s Chicago Business, have just awarded $500,000 to 13  Chicago New-Media groups.  This is a step forward!  Here, at the Beachwood Reporter, is a detailed account how each of the 13 recipients will use funds received.

Below is a mashup of Crain’s briefer account, links we’ve added, and details from the Beachwood Reporter:

  • Columbia College Chicago ($45,000) for a joint effort with the Chicago Tribune to cover news in the Austin neighborhood on the city’s West Side using student and professional journalists to cover government meetings, businesses, churches and other institutions in Austin, with content distributed via a new Web site (, Tribune’s ChicagoNow blog site (, a mobile edition, a newsletter and text messaging.
  • Gapers Block Media LLC ($35,000) to boost neighborhood news coverage at
  • Loyola University Chicago ($45,000) for a partnership with Benito Juarez Community Academy to train student journalists to cover the Southwest Side neighborhood of Pilsen.
  • South Suburban Publishing LLC ($30,000) to train citizen journalists in Markham to cover news for
  • Chicago Assn. of Hispanic Journalists ($30,000) for a new Web site to promote local Latino journalists.
  • Chicago Youth Voices Network ($60,000) to engage several hundred youth journalists in reporting on Chicago teens.
  • Community Media Workshop ($45,000) for a news-tracking effort and an ethnic media news service.
  • Chicago News Cooperative ($50,000) to provide enterprise coverage of Chicago.
  • Northwestern University ($30,000) for grad students to help develop two local community news ventures.
  • Better Government Assn. ($60,000) to train volunteer monitors to report for a new virtual town hall Web site.
  • Beachwood Media Co. ($35,000) to enhance technology and content to create a sustainable business model.
  • Brad Flora ($35,000) to upgrade software used by

Restoring the Social Contract that Binds Americans

November 12

Timothy Egan argues that the social contract that binds Americans is BROKEN.  Here is his column intim egan today’s New York Times. Comments are interesting also. Our comment, online here, is as follows:

The message from the pleasant and nobly resilient city of St Louis rings true. The social contract that bound Americans is broken.

But the mechanism that repairs it may not be a political party led by a modern day Teddy Roosevelt (where among us today is there one like him?)

Rather the reparing mechanism may be a new kind of media: neither public nor commercial, as we know them today, but civic: dedicated to making citizens and government responsive and accountable to each other in realizing opportunities and solving problems in communities of any size: local, state, national and  even international.

To restore the social contract that binds Americans, civic media would use modern communications technologies to give all Americans an informed voice in the political decisions that affect their lives.

Why doesn’t America already have a civic media? It should, for civic media is technologically feasible. But two things are lacking. First is trust on the part of owners of existing media in the core premise of democracy that “men be trusted to govern themselves.” And second, awareness of the fact that any media that engages all members of a community is ipso facto tapping Market of the Whole, the largest of all large markets and the new 21st century Holy Grail of marketing.

The fact of the Market of the Whole ensures that civic media will happen, sooner or later. And when it does, it will spawn not one modern day Teddy Roosevelt but an array of them. Google “Seeding Civic Media.”

Another Song, Globally Assembled

November 6

Like we keep saying, the musicians seem to be ahead of the journalists. Using technology to interact in a unified way. Here is the “unifying” song we posted last May. Now along comes Tim with the one below, also globally assembled. Starts off a little slow but picks up when the sitar rolls in and the man from the Congo starts singing.

Hey WRKS team here’s an idea: how about uploading a song written and performed by an array of Chicago musicians as part of the launch of Chicago WRKS? And site visitors: the WRKS team is working overtime to put  finishing touches on its rockin’ submission to the Knight News Challenge.