Karen Hawkins and Tracy Baim Credit: GlitterGuts

The Reader has announced a new leadership structure as it navigates the transition to a full nonprofit. Tracy Baim, publisher for the past two years, will now be co-publisher alongside Karen Hawkins, who has been co-editor in chief with Sujay Kumar since 2019.

The Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), the new organization that will soon take over the Reader, has received its nonprofit designation from the IRS. RICJ has begun operations and is soliciting individual donations and foundation grants. The Reader‘s former L3C corporation will operate in partnership with RICJ as the business winds down over the next few months, and the nonprofit takes over by spring.

“I am so excited to be joined by Karen as co-publisher,” said Baim. “We worked together 20 years ago at Windy City Times, and have worked to pivot the Reader these past two years. Karen’s leadership and vision will provide a critical role as we seek to navigate the next few years in community media. I am so happy that she has accepted this challenge.”

“After two years at the Reader, I believe more now than ever that nonprofit, community-focused local journalism is the future of the industry,” Hawkins said. “I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this talented and dedicated team of world-class journalists. I’m also thrilled to have proven the strength of the co-leadership model this last year with Sujay Kumar as co-editor in chief, and can’t wait to see what the future holds with Tracy and I in co-publisher roles.”