Veteran Journalist to Head Community Media Workshop

Veteran journalist, editor and strategist Susy Schultz is taking over as executive director of the Community Media Workshop. After 25 years at the helm of the Community Media Workshop, co-founder and president Thom Clark is stepping aside from day-to-day management of the nonprofit based at Columbia College Chicago.

“Susy will bring a wealth of energy, experience and ideas to crafting the next chapter of the Workshop’s core work in building the capacity of organizations to tell their stories more effectively,” Clark said. “She deeply understands how contextual journalism helps us all understand our world better and how important it is to get under-represented voices into the public square of civic life.”

“I am excited about leading the Community Media Workshop through its next stage,” Schultz said. “Now more than ever Chicago and the region need what the Workshop provides to area nonprofits and working journalists as we all journey through the shifting media landscape.”

Schultz has worked for newspapers, a wire service, websites, and magazines covering politics, health care, business and parenting for the Chicago Sun-Times (where she and Clark first met) The Chicago Reporter, the Chicago Tribune, New York Times Syndicate and Chicago Parent. She has also worked as a public information office for a federal agency and the city’s department of public health. She was communications director at the Chicago Foundation for Women. Most recently, she was managing editor for The Daily Journal in Kankakee and now teaches at Columbia College Chicago.

Clark will assist Schultz in her transition this month into her new role at the Workshop, through the organization’s 25th anniversary Studs Terkel Community Media Awards (March 6 at Columbia ‘s Film Row Cinema), and will continue his work as a nonprofit communications trainer. Next week he leads the Workshop’s signature training, Professional Media Relations. Clark will provide consulting services to the Workshop and other nonprofits. A book on his activist past is also in the works.

The Community Media Workshop trains nonprofits to use communications more effectively to forward their missions. Through training workshops, conferences and media forums, it helps organizations understand how to move from proposalese and jargon to effective storytelling. The Workshop also works with journalists to enrich their reporting with better sourcing and context on community issues. Its recent research on the shifting media landscape can be found at

Read Susy’s full bio here.

Read Michael Miner’s coverage of our leadership change on the Chicago Reader blog.

Propel Your Professional Development this Spring at the Workshop

Spring is a busy time for the Workshop and we’re excited to connect with, and add to our network of nonprofit communicators as we usher in a new quarter of training sessions.

Here’s what we have in store this spring:

  • Are you struggling to market your organization, campaign or small business? Chances are you don’t have the time and money to have an in-depth marketing strategy developed for you. Marketing Strategy Made Easy, led by Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz of JJR Marketingwill teach you how to easily create your own in-depth marketing strategy, saving you time and money. This training held Thursday, April 11-9:00AM to Noon, will raise your visibility, grab the attention of your audience, and promote your programs and services better.
  •  Are you having trouble getting subscribers to open your e-newsletter? Stand out in a cluttered inbox and make your audiences want to read more! The Workshop’s New Media Associate, Marissa Wasseluk will host, From Awful to Awesome: E-Newsletters that Work,  Thursday, April 25 – 9:00AM to Noon

Don’t delay, these workshops are filling up fast! Escape the wait-list and register today.


Combating Violence in our Neighborhoods

Chicago is the World blogger and veteran journalist Stephen Franklin engages with Fenger High School principal Elizabeth Dozier at a gathering Jan. 29. Through a series of efforts, including restorative justice, Fenger has transformed itself.

“From Pageantry to Tragedy,” the Chicago Sun-Times cover headline screamed out this morning. As reported all over today, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot in the back while waiting after school for the pouring rain to stop in a neighborhood park less than a mile from President Barack Obama’s home; only a week after she attended the president’s inaugural with group of fellow King College Prep students.

Parents fear those after school hours before they get home from work, when their kids may have nothing to do except become the unintended target of a stray gangbanger’s bullet. Hadiya was herself a majorette for her school’s celebrated dance team and as a volleyball player “was engaged in the activities that are designed to keep young people safe and out of harm’s way,” reflected columnist Mary Mitchell.

But those extra-curriculars didn’t keep Hadiya safe yesterday, one of seven shootings citywide during a record-setting balmy spring day in late-January. As we try and cope with increased gun violence in our neighborhoods, city, state and nation, we also seek answers to prevent another family from planning an early wake and funeral.

Beyond shotgun headlines of each murder victim the Community Media Workshop is trying to encourage journalists to go deeper: how did so many weapons get onto our streets? What are the most effective intervention strategies to reduce the levels of violence? Where can I send my son and daughter to safely engage in productive, fun activities after school?

To try and answer that last question, our We Are Not Alone/No Estamos Solos project convened a second forum between youth organizations and reporters covering crime and public safety issues. Legacy media, public radio, ethnic editors and reporters –some three dozen in all–engaged in “speed dating” conversations with some 43 representatives of youth groups providing those after school and weekend opportunities to engage.

We were encouraged by the conversational buzz in the Columbia College meeting room in which we gathered. We hope the new connections between news sources and journalists will lead to deeper reporting on our culture’s ongoing addiction to guns. And we pray with Hadiya’s mom and family that not one more child will fail to find safe haven.






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