Happy Holidays from the Workshop!

The Workshop offices will be closed from December 20 through January 3

We on the Community Media Workshop’s team are so grateful for YOUR engagement with our community of communicators. As we move into the year-end holiday season (our Columbia office follows the college’s building schedule, so we’re closed from December 20 through January 3), we look forward to a dynamic New Year of helping you tell your story.

Despite the budget challenges most nonprofits continue to face as we recover from the Great Recession, the Workshop continues to provide a multi-faceted approach to helping organizations get their stories out to the shifting media landscape, and beyond. We continue to provide affordable basic communications planning trainings alongside a heavy mix of social media tool building. Through scheduled trainings, custom workshops and our Making Media Connections annual conference, almost 900 organizations and some 1800 individuals engaged the Workshop for your communications needs over the past year.

We also strive to serve journalists as news gathering and publishing shifts increasingly to online platforms: through our ongoing Newstips project, Chicago Is the World engagement with ethnic media, We Are Not Alone/No Estamos Solo anti-violence reporting, ChicagoStories.org for visiting journalists around the NATO Summit, The NEWnews2012 examination of the online ecosystem, and the well-received Local Reporting Initiative which produced some 30 independent journalism projects focused on issues facing under-covered West & South Side communities.

Again, we thank you for your support.

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season, the Workshop looks forward to our communication encounters in the coming new year!

Tune In… How’s Rahm Doing?

If you missed our How’s Rahm Doing? panel discussion at the Cliff Dwellers Club, tune in to the audio archive featured at our partners at Chicago Public Media’s Chicago Amplified or watch a recording of the event made by our partners at CANTV. Panelists included were  Richard Barnett, veteran West Side political organizer; Ricardo Muñoz, 22nd Ward alderman; Amisha Patel of Grassroots Collaborative; and Don Rose, independent political analyst. The panel is moderated by longtime City Hall reporter David Stewart, WLS-AM.

 

Listen in Now

 

Watch the Video

Community News Project: Austin Stiffed by TIF

coca-cola distribution warehouse austin neighborhood chicago

The Coca-Cola distribution warehouse in the Austin neighborhood in Chicago. Picture provided through Austintalks.org

With Mayor Emanuel’s TIF panel looking into the program’s effectiveness, AustinTalks examines its impact in a community with the seventh-highest unemployment rate in the nation – and finds it falling far short.

Only four TIF projects have been authorized for Austin; only one – relocation of a Coca Cola warehouse – has met the terms of its TIF agreement; and that project has employed just 28 people who live in or near Austin, according to a report by Ellyn Fortino.

More than half of the 200 TIF projects authorized since 2000 are located downtown (as Fortino and ChicagoTalks staff previously reported in the New York Times).  “Few if any projects can be found in Chicago’s most blighted communities on the West and South Sides,” Fortino writes in today’s report.  “And many of those projects haven’t been completed at all – if started.”

Of $22 million in TIF subsidies allocated for Austin, “only $1.4 million has been paid out – most of it for the Coca Cola distribution center,” Fortino reports.  That’s out of $1.2 billion citywide.

That project is “a prime example of how low-income neighborhoods in TIF districts don’t get what they deserve,” with property taxes diverted from public services to benefit big corporations, one activist tells AustinTalks. It’s “legalized corruption,” says Dwayne Truss of the South Austin Coalition.

Read more on this story at the Chicago Local Reporting Initiative – Community News Project page.

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