With the addition of two new reporters, Block Club Chicago just expanded its full-time staff to 22. That’s nearly a threefold increase since the nonprofit neighborhood news site launched in 2018.
The latest to sign on are Melody Mercado, who most recently was a reporter for the Des Moines Register, and Mack Liederman, former per-diem news writer at Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9 and freelance contributor to Block Club Chicago.
“This expansion was made possible by Block Club’s readers, who continue to prove that if local news is relevant to their lives, they will support it,” said Stephanie Lulay, executive editor and co-founder of the hyperlocal news operation, which now boasts 18,000 paid subscribers. “We’re grateful for their tireless support.”
Mercado, who hails from Belvidere, Illinois, and earned journalism degrees from Bradley University and DePaul University, began her career with WHO, the NBC affiliate in Des Moines. In her new role, she’ll cover she’ll cover the Loop, River North and West Loop neighborhoods.
“I’m thrilled to be joining a newsroom that values and is centered on hyperlocal reporting,” Mercado said in a statement. “I’ve greatly admired Block Club Chicago since I first read about its Kickstarter campaign in 2018, and I can’t wait to get started.”
Liederman, a native of Westfield, New Jersey, graduated from Vassar College and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
As a general assignment reporter, Lulay said, Liederman will “fill in the gaps in neighborhoods where we don’t have full-time coverage yet and shine a light on the unsung Chicagoans who make the city tick.”
Said Liederman: “As a reporter it is a great joy to make neighbors feel seen and heard. Block Club has given me the support and confidence to tell stories across Chicago that too often go untold, from the silly to the serious.”
Lulay co-founded Block Club Chicago with Shamus Toomey and Jen Sabella. All three are former editors of DNAinfo Chicago.
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