The story of Chicago is often seen as the Tale of Two Cities. Unfortunately only one of these stories usually gets told in all its detail; the glorious downtown, the skyline, the glitz and glamour, the restaurants, the opera, the tourist Chicago, the chic Chicago, where problems are forgotten and escapist fantasy reigns.
Then there’s the other Chicago,where most residents live, where schools and little else work as well as they should, where the infrastructure and housing crumbles, where too many children die either of boredom or neglect or too much violent excitement, the neighborhoody Chicago, the gritty real Chicago, where problems linger, and solutions are created by citizens noisily exercising their democratic rights.
The Community Media Workshop, founded by a journalist, Hank De Zutter, and a community activist, Thom Clark, is a small institution trying to link the two Chicagos by encouraging the media to tell the stories of the other Chicago, the oft-neglected neighborhoods and back streets of Chicago, where the problems are felt most deeply and where solutions are most likely to be born.
The Workshop trains people working on these problems to tell their stories to the media, tips sensitive journalists to the importance of these stories, and tries to create better relationships between the media and the diverse communities which make up Chicago.