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Evanston RoundTable webinar: Facing the threat to local journalism – and democracy

November 17th, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Facing the threat to local journalism - and democracy

In the United States, 25% of newspapers have ceased operation and 2,000 community newspapers have closed in the past 15 years.

The Chicago area has been no stranger to the devastation – we have watched as our two major daily newspapers undergo dramatic contraction. The vacuum created when local journalism declines poses a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free press to provide the reporting that enables citizens to make informed decisions. A free press also provides critical oversight of our governing institutions.

But at the same time that “legacy media” struggle to survive, innovative news organizations are springing up. In the Chicago area alone, dozens of hyperlocal news sources have been established, many of them as non-profit organizations, like the Evanston RoundTable, which became a nonprofit news outlet in 2020. And the Chicago metropolitan area may be the site for one of the largest experiments yet in nonprofit news with the proposed merger of Chicago Public Media and the Chicago Sun-Times.

For this webinar, we have recruited an all-star panel: The session will be moderated by Charles Whitaker, dean and professor at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communication, and a member of the RoundTable board of directors. Charles will be joined by three panelists who bring different types of expertise and perspective to the discussion:

  • Tracy Baim, president and co-publisher of the Chicago Reader and founder of the Chicago Independent Media Alliance. Tracy is co-founder and former publisher of Windy City Times

  • Laura Washington, Sun-Times columnist and and political analyst for ABC-7 Chicago. Previously, Laura was editor and publisher of The Chicago Reporter, the nationally recognized investigative monthly specializing in racial issues and urban affairs

  • Tim Franklin, senior associate dean at Medill and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News. Tim is helping to lead the Medill Local News Initiative, a research-and-development project designed to bolster the sustainability of local news in America. He is the former president of the Poynter Institute

Register:  – Click here to reserve your spot.


November 17th, 2021
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Evanston RoundTable
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