The Reader Institute for Community Journalism (RICJ), which operates the Chicago Reader, announces recent staff hires and promotions.

Chasity Cooper, who previously served as Newsletter Associate for the Reader, is our new director of marketing and strategic communications.

Chasity Cooper, Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications

Cooper (she/her) is an award-winning writer and wine culture expert who also has an extensive background in marketing and communications.

Prior to joining the Reader in October 2022, Cooper worked for a number of nonprofit organizations and agencies specializing in content strategy and management, social media marketing, public relations, and community development over the course of a decade. Additionally, her wine expertise has afforded her the opportunity to travel around the world and write for publications such as the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine, EATER Chicago, VinePair, Chicago Reader, The TRiiBE, Wine Enthusiast, and Sweet July, just to name a few.

Cooper earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing and public relations from Syracuse University. A proud product of Evanston, Illinois, she is now a Chicagoan ’til Chicago ends.

Alia Graham is now vice president of people and culture/human resources.

Alia Graham, VP of People and Culture/Human Resources

Graham (she/her) has been with the RICJ since January 2023 and has worked in the nonprofit sector for almost 20 years. She specializes in reconstructing policies and procedures, community advocacy, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Reader is thrilled to have Graham share her expertise and impact in the people and culture/human resource arena.   

Shawn Mulcahy is the Reader’s new news editor.

Shawn Mulcahy, News Editor

Mulcahy (he/him) previously worked as the director of communications for the Illinois Prison Project, a legal aid nonprofit for people serving long prison sentences. Before that, Shawn contributed to national and international investigations for the Washington Post and reported from two state capitals, covering politics and policy for The Texas Tribune and Florida Public Radio.

Shawn graduated with his master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.

When he’s not working, you can find Shawn whipping up a new recipe in the kitchen, with his nose buried in a book, or lounging by the lake with his dog, Pally.

Charli Renken is the Reader’s new social media engagement associate.

Charli Renken, Social Media Engagement Associate

Renken (they/them) is a multimedia storyteller with experience in investigative journalism, beat reporting, social media management, and entertainment news. They have written for publications such as Built In, Block Club Chicago, Secret Chicago, and The Denver Post. You can find them playing Dungeons & Dragons, drinking loose-leaf tea, or visiting their local Comic Con in their free time.

Since new leadership took over the Chicago Reader in 2018, the organization has moved to strengthen its infrastructure. It converted to a full nonprofit in mid-2022, and has diversified its leadership and staff. 

For more information on RICJ and the Chicago Reader, visit our about page.