One year ago this month, Gazette Chicago proudly announced its milestone fortieth year of publishing. Hard to believe another year has gone by so quickly—not to mention four incredible decades. I’m not going to send you on a trip down memory lane, but if you are a newcomer to this newspaper, or a veteran reader who would like to be reminded one more time of “from whence we came,” kindly go to https://eedition.gazettechicago.com/Gazette-Chicago-05062022-e-Edition/1/. There you can learn about our humble beginnings, how and why we expanded into new and diverse communities, some of the major issues and personalities we’ve covered, and how we’ve striven to make a positive impact on how our neighbors live, work, and play.
A lot has happened during the past 40 years, for all of us, and in the life of this newspaper. I hope you’ll agree that Gazette Chicago has evolved as it reaches its “middle years.” I chuckle a bit as I write this—for if the newspaper has reached its mid-forties, where does that leave me and the other members of our editorial team? I think I’m suffering from a “midlife crisis”—I want to trade in our 12-year-old delivery van for a sleek, new electric SUV. But I digress.
These things are certain, however.
Gazette Chicago isn’t the same newspaper that sprung up in May 1983 as a fledgling independent start-up. With age comes maturity, and hopefully a keener awareness of roles and responsibilities. We certainly take our role in the community seriously and hope that we are meeting your expectations.
Here’s a quick summary of just some of the issues that Gazette Chicago has covered in the past year: The controversy over conveying CHA-owned land to the Chicago Fire Football Club for a practice facility (this May edition covers how HUD has approved the land lease agreement); in-depth coverage of Congressional, Cook County Board, and City Council races and endorsements; DePaul University collaborative HealthText stories on how local professionals address health care and stressors for Latinx people, and on geriatric care; the on-going debate over whether the Columbus statue should return to Arrigo Park; bicycle safety after a West Loop resident was struck and killed in a hit and run accident; the fight to save St. Adalbert Church and its precious Pieta statue; where Illinois ranks in national corruption; environmental issues in Pilsen, Brighton Park, and McKinley Park as residents fight back against systemic environmental racism; health assessments and responses within our Asian community; CivicLab’s ongoing fight against how TIF funds are mismanaged and how precious local revenues are siphoned from communities; food deserts in our area and legislation to address the problem; the effort to build a new CPS high school in the Near South neighborhood; the completion of the Jane Byrne Interchange and its local benefits; how an increase of thefts of postal carriers’ master keys and theft from USPS street mailboxes has created a rash of check washing scams resulting in thousands of dollars in lost revenue for area residents; a protest against a lack of access to Whitney Young High School athletic facilities; residents questioning the opening of a second cannabis shop in the South Loop; plans to add more retail and apartments in Roosevelt Square; opposition to spiking property tax increases and their impact on homeowners and renters; a proliferation in sports gambling and a spike in addictions; adaptive reuse of Saint Anthony’s Church in Bridgeport; a pause on HIV/AIDS research by Cook County Health officials; calls for a City charter to make our elected officials more accountable and responsive to the citizenry; and whether the recent agreement to host NASCAR races over the next three years in the South Loop will be a benefit or bust for our City. Not to mention a slew of hard-hitting editorials railing against clout and corruption and fighting for the voiceless and the betterment of our communities.
Which of these were your favorite stories? How would your life or that of your neighbors have been impacted if Gazette Chicago wasn’t around to provide hyper-local community journalism?
Which leads me to point number two. Community journalism cannot and will not survive without partnerships—partnerships from local foundations and from our readers. In plain and simple terms—we need YOU to support Gazette Chicago and the other members of the Chicago Independent Media Alliance. In this issue, on page 14, please have a read and support this critical, annual fundraising campaign. Of the 69 members of CIMA, 47 are participating this year—28 of us have annual budgets of less than $250,000 (some of us much less). That’s not a lot of money to pay reporters, photojournalists, graphic designers, circulation helpers, and printers to produce Gazette Chicago 11 times annually. This issue is only 16 pages—a far cry from our heyday in the mid 2000s when we were publishing 80-90 pages each issue. Advertising revenue alone—and we cannot be grateful enough for the advertisers that allow us to publish—won’t keep us going. That’s the plain, simple, and very hard truth.
The other way you can support Gazette Chicago directly is by making a tax-deductible donation through our fiscal agent, CivicLab. We are not a non-profit entity, but CivicLab is and the organization has been gracious to accept tax-deductible donations on our behalf. Make your check payable to CivicLab and mail it to 1643 N. Larrabee St., Suite I, Chicago, IL 60614. Be sure to add “Gazette Chicago” to the memo section of your check. Or, make your donation on-line by clicking on www.tinyurl.com/Support-Gazette-Chicago.
Point number three. This may be only a 16-page issue of Gazette Chicago but I believe you will agree that we are still offering you valuable information and that we are providing our readers with a critical service. We are committed to this community. And, without us, this community would be at a loss. That’s not an ego statement—it comes from local civic, community, and political leaders. And, from many of you.
So, there you have it—two ways for YOU to make an impact immediately and help us begin year number 41 strong and financially viable.
I thank you for four incredible decades. I ask that you please partner with us during these changing times for local journalism. All of us at Gazette Chicago are grateful for your support.