Chicago area newsrooms join forces to find ‘The Path Forward’ after pandemic

Solving for Chicago

The largest collaborative journalism effort ever assembled in Chicago spent the last year reporting on essential workers and how the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped work and employment throughout the region.

Now, thanks to increased support from the Solutions Journalism Network, the joint project dubbed Solving for Chicago has been renewed for another year. This time it will focus on how COVID-19 has prompted communities to rethink solutions to problems of housing, education, public safety, employment and public health.

With 19 print, digital and broadcast newsroom partners encompassing nonprofit and for-profit media brands in the city and suburbs, the project’s theme for 2022 will be “The Path Forward.”

Jackie Serrato

“Throughout the pandemic, publications and institutions in Chicago realized, if they hadn’t before, that sectors of our city and county were underserved, lacked safety nets, and were highly prone to the direct and indirect consequences of the virus — from fatalities to homelessness to abusive workplaces,” Jackie Serrato, editor in chief of the South Side Weekly, said in a statement.

“As journalists who have increased access to data and to people’s stories, it is on us to expose the conditions that existed before COVID and that are set to remain even if COVID-19 was eradicated. Working together as newsrooms to seek accountability, transparency and solutions to the system’s shortcomings seems like the only logical and responsible next step.”

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In addition to the Solutions Journalism Network, the project is funded by the Google News Initiative. It’s managed by the Local Media Foundation.

Here are the Solving for Chicago partner newsrooms:

  • Austin Weekly News
  • Block Club Chicago
  • Borderless Magazine
  • Chicago Crusader
  • Chicago Defender
  • Chicago Music Guide
  • Chicago Reader
  • Forest Park Review
  • Hyde Park Herald
  • Injustice Watch
  • Inside Publications
  • La Raza
  • Loop North News
  • Riverside Brookfield Landmark
  • South Side Weekly
  • WBEZ
  • Wednesday Journal
  • Windy City Times
  • WTTW

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Bill Figel: If John Owens is at bat bringing Dick Allen to life, it’s likely a bases-clearing, stand-up triple. The Leo News Men drilled down into Allen’s life when he died and look forward to this account of his life against the backdrop of a changing South Side of Chicago. Here’s hoping the option on the documentary crosses the plate as well.