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Same mission, different platform for the Reporter.

A framed copy of an editorial from the first issue of The Chicago Reporter, which was published in July 1972, rests on my desk--a reminder of why I'm here.

"Of all the challenges facing Chicago, race is the make or break issue of the 1970s.... Race touches everybody and everything," wrote co-editors John A. McDermott and Lillian Calhoun. "Racial peace and progress are more than moral ideals today. They are matters of profound self-interest to every person and institution in this community."

Some 43 years later, we could say the same about the importance of race in Chicago and the nation. Today, hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter capture the urgency of addressing the persistent color lines that breed racial inequality. The potential for the Reporter's work to reach new audiences has never been greater. We want to be part of an online conversation that is changing the national conversation about race.

How we get news has changed dramatically since 1972 when McDermott and Calhoun published that first issue. The three major TV networks (ABC, CBS and NBC) have given way to an alphabet soup of cable and broadcast networks, while newspapers and other traditional media outlets continue to adapt to a digital landscape where information is created and consumed 24-7.

In this noisy information environment, news organizations have to get the information to the audience; the audience no longer finds you. Right now, the Reporter struggles to run a magazine and a web site. We cannot do both well, and we cannot afford to tune out of the digital conversation. So we have decided to end the quarterly publication and focus our work online, where we can reach wider audiences and have a greater impact. That includes the long-form investigations you've come to expect from us. (In fact, if you haven't visited our web site, you've missed some important investigations.)

We have been weighing into the digital waters for a while. I was hired, in part, to help the Reporter become a digital news organization. The decision to no longer publish a quarterly magazine is yet another step in our digital evolution.

We'll produce an annual issue of the Reporter highlighting our best investigations of the year and a few new features--interviews, essays, book reviews. And we'll email you a PDF of a top investigation every quarter until your subscription ends.

The platform may have shifted from print to the Web. The mission, however, has stayed the same. The editorial from that first issue of the Reporter still inspires our work:

"The Reporter will dig beneath the surface of local racial news because the issues of the '70s are more hidden and complex. The special problem of the '70s is racial inequality, the deep disparities in the condition and quality of life which separate the races and which are the legacy of generations of injustice."

Thank you for supporting the Reporter. Bookmark our website,, and join us online.



In this issue

Reporter Ade Emmanuel spent some time in Chicago's Woodlawn community, a neighborhood that in many ways reflects the perils and promise in black communities across the country. Big retailers ignore them and major institutions withdrew from them, yet some business owners, from smalltime shop owners to retail chains like Family Dollar, are making money. Ade's story explores who is doing business in the neighborhood, and how these communities contain the seeds of their own rebirth.

Susan Smith Richardson, Editor & Publisher

Opinions expressed by the editor and publisher are her own.

We welcome letters. Send them to or 111 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 820, Chicago, IL, 60604. Please include name, address and a daytime phone number. Letters may be edited for space and clarity.
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Title Annotation:PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Reporter News
Author:Richardson, Susan Smith
Publication:The Chicago Reporter
Date:Jun 22, 2015
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