CHICAGO — Today, Public Narrative relaunched the Chicago Media Guide. In partnership with Public Narrative, the Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) also launched the Chicago Independent Media Directory. Together, these resources will connect outlets, journalists, funders, advertisers and the audiences they serve with the full breadth of Chicago’s local media ecosystem.
Public Narrative, a Chicago-based nonprofit that has been elevating community voices in journalism for more than 30 years, has produced the Chicago Media Guide since 1995. The guide now provides a centralized and personalized platform of robust contact information for more than 5,000 media outlets, journalists, writers and more in Chicago — and now greater Illinois and beyond.
This resource provides free and paid subscription models that allow users to quickly discover and obtain media contacts in order to build relationships with journalists and media entities for their own work.
Explore databases for outlets and individual journalists by name, city, coverage topics, language and more. You can also make and place selections of the entities and the reporters’ contacts that you need into your own media list and export them to keep for future use.
Journalists, community members, nonprofit leaders and small business owners, among others, can rely again on the Chicago Media Guide as a trusted, comprehensive and up-to-date resource staple of the country’s third-largest media market and more. Media outlets and journalists interested in being added to the contact lists or wanting to provide an update to their existing contact information can email Olivia Obineme, Public Narrative’s director of journalism and media engagement, at [email protected] to learn more.
In partnership with Public Narrative, the Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) — a project of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism linking more than 60 community media entities representing more than 80 outlets — has created the free Chicago Independent Media Directory. Featuring outlet statistics and audience demographics, this media directory features Chicago-area, independent, local media outlets in one central website.
Businesses, government, foundations, and other entities can use the Chicago Independent Media Directory to find local media outlets to advertise with, give grants to, or support in other ways. Users can filter their search by community area of coverage, audience, language, beats, and much more to easily find outlet statistics and export a list of outlets with their contact information. Chicago-area outlets interested in being added to the Chicago Independent Media Directory can contact CIMA co-director, Savannah Hugueley, at [email protected] to request the form.
The partnership between Public Narrative and CIMA has been essential in advocating for independent community media in the city, including by bringing in new resources. This media directory is one element of this partnership that will be critical to linking small, local outlets with advertisers and new sources of revenue.
The guide and directory were revamped and created simultaneously with local media advocating for equitable advertising by government agencies. In October 2020, CIMA began the work of replicating a study of New York City governmental advertising conducted by the Center for Community Media at the City University of New York (CUNY) Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. The New York project resulted in an Executive Order signed by Mayor Bill de Blasio in mid-2019. In 2020, the first year of full implementation, there was a multi-million-dollar shift to community and ethnic media.
Advocacy by CIMA and other local media outlets culminated on October 26, 2022, when Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot signed an Executive Order designating that City of Chicago departments allocate at least 50 percent of their annual advertising spending to community media outlets. As part of the Executive Order, the Office of the Mayor will maintain a list of local media that exemplify Chicago’s interconnected communities. Agencies will also be able to utilize the Chicago Media Guide and Chicago Independent Media Directory in order to access an up-to-date, comprehensive list of outlets throughout the city and their contact information.
CIMA’s Chicago Independent Media Directory: cimadirectory.org
Public Narrative’s Chicago Media Guide: publicnarrative.org/the-guide/
On Wednesday, December 7, 6-7:30 p.m., Public Narrative and CIMA will host a conversation about the history and future of community media collaborations, including Chicago’s recent Executive Order. This virtual event, “What’s Next? The Future of Community Media Collaborations”will feature Jhmira Alexander, president and executive director of Public Narrative, and Tracy Baim, publisher of the Chicago Reader and founder of CIMA. It will be moderated by Maple Walker Lloyd, director of development and community engagement for Block Club Chicago. Register here to join.
The Chicago Independent Media Alliance (CIMA) is a coalition of 62 independent, local, and community-driven media entities covering communities throughout the Chicago area, representing more than 80 outlets. Through regular collaboration and the creation of new revenue streams, CIMA uplifts the ecosystem in order to amplify the voices of Chicagoans. Since its founding in 2019, CIMA has helped direct more than $700,000 in funding for its members, through an annual fundraiser, matching foundation funds, and collaboration grants. Founded in 2019, CIMA is a project of the Reader Institute for Community Journalism, publisher of the Chicago Reader. See indiemediachi.org/about/.
About Public Narrative
Public Narrative is Chicago’s premiere cultivator of narrative change and supporter of community-oriented journalism since 1989. It facilitates training, programming and resource building focused on cultivating media literacy, uplifting community voices in media, and shifting narratives around public health, public safety, and public education. Public Narrative supports more than 200 community and ethnic news outlets and for-and not-for-profit organizations through its initiatives. And it builds meaningful relationships among stakeholders to shift existing community narratives and amplify more inclusive and complete storytelling across Chicago, greater Illinois and beyond. See publicnarrative.org.