“Does journalism have a future?” Jill Lepore asked in the most recent issue of the New Yorker, as prankster turned media innovator Jonah Peretti laid off 15 percent of his workforce at BuzzFeed and then refused to pay most former employees their paid time off. Meanwhile, we’re over here adding pages to our print edition, launching a podcast, and tracking gains in Web traffic month after month (after month). (We also expanded our staff—Davon Clark, welcome to the graphic design team!)
What’s the Reader got that nobody else seems to? You folks.
I’m not naive (trust me), nor do I believe our alternative newsweekly to be immune to the ravages of capitalism and the national disaffection for journalism that Lepore and Peretti point to in their own ways. I’ve put several of my own publications down, watched freelance paychecks dwindle, faced increasing antagonism for asking basic questions of authority. Perhaps most horrifying, I’ve faced the prospect of either doing the work for free or choosing to live in a world where the work doesn’t get done.
Yet we’ve seized the chance at the Reader to envision a different world, and the whole city seems intent on making it reality. Does journalism have a future? It just might, Jill. We’ve got four pages of very tiny print filled with the names of people who seem to think so. We’ve also got a special letters section, where some of them have stated their support quite clearly. We’re honored.
But the real appreciation for your support shines through our pages and on our website. Listen to our first-ever podcast the Back Room Deal at chicagoreader.com/backroomdeal (or Spotify, Stitcher, or Apple) for the complete scoop on the Chicago elections from Ben Joravsky and Maya Dukmasova. Read their in-depth, ward-level reporting on our pages. Check out our photographic essay on the rent-control ban referendum in the First and 26th Wards. Read up on Toni Preckwinkle’s mayoral campaign. And don’t overlook our coverage of what makes this city truly great: performers like Angel Bat Dawid, playwrights like Ike Holter, and eateries like Irving Park cafe Finom.
Finally, I speak for the whole editorial staff when I say, from the bottom of our hearts: thank you. v