People to Pitch: Adriana Cardona at the Gate Newspaper

“The Gate” fills a gap in Back of the Yards

An ever-evolving media landscape has left some Chicago neighborhoods and nonprofits wondering how to fill the information gap.  As editor of “The Gate,” Adriana Cardona says community newspapers are  vehicles for connecting residents to the vital services nonprofits offer.

After a three-year absence, the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council (BYNC) launched a bi-weekly, bilingual newspaper as a way to serve the residents of the Back of the Yards community, support community engagement, as well as coordinate and strengthen existing social services and programs.

According to Cardona, the newspaper established a well-rooted presence in the community and has become a key tool in keeping residents connected with service organizations.

As pitches increased over time, she encouraged organizations to keep the information simple, provide key details up front, and be mindful of the community’s demographics (a neighborhood with a high concentration of Latinos and African American families).

“Our goal is to fully meet the information needs of the residents and share with them stories and issues that will touch their lives and their families.” says Cardona.

Readership has increased due to utilizing high school talent to profile agencies. She says interest from surrounding local high schools has connected students to important community initiatives.

Including hyper-local community newspapers  in a communications strategy is a great way to reach a specific community or audience. It can also be a way to highlight the successes your agency has had, says Cardona.

“Not everything can or has to be negative,” she said. Despite the high crime rate that affects the Back of the Yards neighborhood, there are often opportunities being created by community stakeholders, which should be documented with photos, videos and articles.

To submit pitches and/or community calendar information, put in the subject line “attention to editor.” Cardona says that she often likes to talk to sources in order to clarify information that will fully benefit their readers. She always returns phone calls and emails. To contact Adriana Cardona, call 773-523-4416 or email  HYPERLINK “mailto:acardona@bync.orgacardona@bync.org or  HYPERLINK “mailto:adrianamaria.cardona@gmail.comadrianamaria.cardona@gmail.com.

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