Media Moves

Dozens of local journalists gather in support of nonprofit Journal

December 19, 2019

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

Some two dozen journalists from Oak Park and River Forest, Illinois gathered Dec. 12 to support Wednesday Journal’s coming switch from profit to a new non-profit called Growing Community Media.

Both working and retired journalists and reporters and some journalism school professors gathered at a local cafe to learn more about the plan. During the talk, advice and ideas were exchanged ranging from arranging potential donors, the right software to track donors and ways to better connect with readers.

With the coming of the new year, the final steps will be taken to shift the assets of the 39-year-old corporation to the recently formed non-profit.

“I’m not positive, but we may be the first community-based legacy for-profit company to do this,” Dan Haley, publisher, told the group. “If we’re not the first, we’re right there at the starting line.”

Although profit will be generated from advertising sales, Growing Community Media will also work to add philanthropic donations to fund reporting positions and initiatives. However, under IRS regulations none of the four weeklies will be allowed to endorse candidates.

“The business model [of newspaper journalism] is not the only thing that’s broken,” Haley said. “What’s also broken is the way we listen to people, talk to people and report our stories — not just with respect to different platforms and so on, although that’s certainly a factor — but also with respect to who we choose to listen to. Creating a more diverse newsroom and company are all part of the more profound and interesting challenges that we face.”

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