What is the Public Newsroom?
Once a week, we turn our Woodlawn office into an open space where journalists and the public can gather to discuss local issues, share resources and knowledge and learn to report and investigate stories in partnership with the South Side Weekly and Build Coffee. We’ll bring in guest speakers and host workshops on things like how to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain government records, how to find and analyze public data and how to tell your own audio/video stories—in addition to hands-on presentations, we'll be exploring issues ranging from narratives in media to culture + art and any number of ideas relevant to Chicago and the nation at-large.
For working journalists, the public newsroom is a place to find and shape stories in direct conversation with readers. For the public, the newsroom is a front-row seat into how journalism gets made, and a chance to impact the way your community is covered in the media.
The Public Newsroom is always free, always open to the public and always live-streamed online (thanks, in part, to public support via our Public Newsroom Kickstarter campaign in August 2016). Want to continue the conversation? Join us and more than 300 others at the Public Newsroom Facebook group.
What do I get out of the Public Newsroom?
We see three big reasons to stop by and engage with our space:
Journalism can be more responsive to your needs. The Public Newsroom will build communication and trust between journalists and readers. In-person feedback and conversation can improve reporting in a way online commenting never could. At the same time, we’ll give residents a better public understanding of the power and limitations of journalism.
A more inclusive newsroom benefits everyone. Without getting too grandiose about it, we think the creation of spaces like this could have a deep, long-term impact on American journalism. We're breaking down barriers to bring diverse perspectives into newsrooms. Even if you don’t personally come (though you should!), everybody benefits when there are more voices in the room.
You get an extra watchdog in the neighborhood. Every month there are dozens of meetings and public events that only a handful of people attend, but where important decisions are made. By hiring Community Documenters to record public events, and bringing them together in the Public Newsroom, we can quickly expand the number of eyes and ears we have on the ground, creating better public oversight for everyone.
Upcoming Public Newsroom Workshops:
Who's presented in the past?
November 3, 2016: Writer, poet and Chicago-based academic Eve Ewing on media narratives and reporters can responsibly cover marginalized communities. (Facebook Live)
November 17, 2016: Chacyln Hunt of the Invisible Institute on how, when and why you should file Freedom of Information Act request.
December 1, 2016: Chicago Reader critic Leor Galil on covering music, art and culture.
December 15, 2016: Invisible Institute staff preview new data on police use of force in Chicago.
January 19, 2017: WBEZ education reporter Linda Lutton on her recent hour-long radio special, "The View from Room 205". (Facebook Live)
February 2, 2017: Chicago Reader reporter Maya Dukmasova on covering public housing in Chicago.
February 9, 2017: DataMade's Jean Cochrane and Hannah Cushman on data journalism 101.
February 16, 2017: Independent journalists Adeshina Emmanuel and Jamie Kalven with attorney Sheila Bedi on decoding Chicago's police union contract.
March 16, 2017: Micheal Block, programmer on We Are Chicago video game, and Ashlyn Sparrow, of Game Changer Design Lab, on games as storytelling.
March 23, 2017: Google facilitator Mike Reilley presents a day-long workshop on Google Tools. (Storify)
March 30, 2017: Interactive Podcasting with People-Powered Publishing Fellow Jordan Wirfs-Brock and Illinois Humanities.
April 6, 2017: Building digital communities to influence your newsroom with Angilee Shah of Public International Radio.
April 13, 2017: On "city-engineered conflict" with University of Illinois at Chicago professor David Stovall. (Storify)
April 20, 2017: Chicago Police in Chicago Public Schools with City Bureau alum Yana Kunichoff, VOYCE, COFI, Mikva Challenge and Public Narrative. (Storify)
April 27, 2017: How we report on immigration and asylum seekers with reporters from 90 Days, 90 Voices. (Medium blog post)
May 4, 2017: Chicago's newest publication for and by black millennials, The TRiiBE, screen their latest film "Another Life"—a docupoetry series on trauma and life in Chicago after violence. (Storify)