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Local Matters by Jackie Spinner

Jackie Spinner is the editor of Gateway Journalism Review ( and an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago. Send story tips to

We fact-check because we want to find the truth

A few days ago, a former elementary school classmate of mine shared a viral post on Facebook about how Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was going to raise taxes for middle income families by 25%.  I ...

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To keep our community’s trust, we need to explain the decisions we make and what motivates us

That makes it challenging to cover the coronavirus story, particularly when many of our readers are making decisions based on politics. We can’t be divorced from the actual experiences of our ...

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It’s in the language we choose, the people we quote and the people we don’t

We are in the midst of a racial reckoning in our country that is more visible in some places than others, but in all places, it is long overdue, including in our newsrooms.

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The Greylock Glass experiments with alternative funding methods

But during a recent fundraiser to try to keep his arts news venture running during the pandemic, Velásquez was shaken by how little people were willing to pay to support local news.

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College journalism students are living back at home now, and they are anxious to practice the skills they have learned

Most will not need to get paid if their college or university offers internship credit. You’ll have to take on a bit of paperwork in exchange. But I know many of my students willingly would work ...

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It’s not easy to balance our profession and our community’s needs with the need to take care of ourselves

Mark Busch hasn’t been able to do that. The photo editor for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle in northern Illinois is still going out to document the coronavirus pandemic, including a recent assignment ...

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Local journalism serves a crucial role in helping engage our communities about why we are here, why we do what we do

We don’t often hear from readers at the magazine where I’m editor. The majority of our readers at Gateway Journalism Review are educators, reporters and editors. Our coverage — and our ...

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Fight misinformation this election season

In the hours after Iran attacked two Iraqi military bases that housed U.S. troops early this year, social media predictably was rampant with rumors. Old and doctored photos surfaced, claiming to show the ...

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We can't be afraid to confront this

A sweeping new Pew Center report that examines trust in the media confirmed an uneasy truth that we can no longer afford to ignore. It’s not just that our readers don’t trust us. They think ...

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Regional and community papers alike need to come together to ask questions and share answers

The fallout was immediate. Within 24 hours after the nonprofit ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune published their investigation in mid-November into the use of seclusion rooms to isolate students ...

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Produce journalism that matters

I want to tell you a story about covering Congress in 2002 that doesn’t feel that long ago, but my 18-year-old students at Columba College in Chicago would assure me otherwise. I wasn’t too ...

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Adopt a clear policy for reporting

A recent study by the nonprofit media and culture group Define American and the MIT Center for Civic Media found that major newspapers have adopted President Trump’s rhetoric for immigration, using ...

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Show readers behind the byline

Recent attacks on the press dehumanize us. And this doesn’t just happen at the national level. 

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Capitol News Illinois serving newspapers free statehouse coverage

Illinois is hardly the only state with fewer reporters on the statehouse beat

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Du Quoin (Illinois) Weekly’s coverage of new Democratic governor picked up nationally

Just days before the 4th of July holiday, the DuQuoin Weekly in southern Illinois got a tip that the country music band, Confederate Railroad, would no longer be playing at the DuQuoin State Fair in August. 

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Newsletter boosts ad revenue and readership for Illinois weekly

The weekly newsletter, which also comes out on Saturdays during high school sports season, has since grown to a bulletin with multiple stories and paid advertisements.

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Photojournalists often first to go

Howell, a 2017 college graduate who worked for his student newspaper at Eastern Illinois University, was on the job for 56 days when he was laid off in May in a round of cuts that also eliminated two copy ...

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Communicating with longtime readers

Her decision — and the reason behind it, exemplifies where we’re at in the news business. It’s also a lesson for publishers in how better to communicate with longtime readers. If we can’t ...

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