Block Club Chicago teams with Austin Weekly on free West Side newsletter

Michael Romain and Pascal Sabino

The underserved communities of Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side are the focus of a free twice-weekly newsletter to be launched jointly today by two local newsrooms.

Neighborhood news website Block Club Chicago and the Austin Weekly News are collaborating on the newsletter, which will be delivered to subscribers by email on Wednesdays and Fridays. (Here is the link to subscribe.)

In addition to the work of the two news organizations, the newsletter also will highlight coverage of the West Side by The Triibe, Austin Talks, Free Spirit Media and City Bureau.

“Legacy Chicago newsrooms have historically ignored the West Side except to exploit sensational stories that play into the same tired narratives of hopelessness, violence and trauma in Black neighborhoods,” said Block Club West Side reporter Pascal Sabino, who will curate the newsletter with Austin Weekly editor Michael Romain.

“Austin Weekly News has been here all along covering the stories that matter most to West Side residents — and Block Club shares that mission. I hope this collaboration helps create a new model for reporting on the West Side that empowers residents to control the community’s narrative,” Sabino said.

Block Club was founded in 2018 by alumni of DNAinfo Chicago as a nonprofit digital news site. Growing Community Media, parent company of the 34-year-old Austin Weekly, recently moved to a nonprofit business model.

“Hopefully the partnership between Block Club Chicago and Austin Weekly News can become a model that other media outlets emulate,” Romain said. “Our readers are better served by this economy of scale that gives us more bandwidth — more resources, more reporters — to tell more West Side stories.”

Independently, Block Club also publishes twice-weekly newsletters serving Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale; Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Albany Park; Hyde Park, South Shore, Woodlawn; Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town; and Rogers Park, Edgewater, Uptown. (Here is the link to subscribe.)

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Jon Kaplan: Dom Calabrese has taught and mentored scores of communications professionals, and brought national acclaim to the Chicago Lighthouse. More importantly, though, he has one of the biggest hearts and kindest spirits of anyone you will ever meet. This scholarship, in honor of his beloved mother, is just another example of how Dom continues to touch lives and make the world a better place.