"The industry, and particularly Chicago papers, have a long history of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, which I believe to be one of the world's most noble callings. But lately the industry has changed. It's become increasingly corporate. Some papers have become skittish about running articles that might offend advertisers and powerful politicians. And editors have become so enamored of their place in the pecking order they're unwilling to publish stories that risk roiling the bosses.But journalism doesn't have to be like that, and we aim to prove it.We plan to raise as much hell as we possibly can. We plan to take a close look at Chicago's most powerful business and government institutions, carefully document the results and share them with you, our readers." Geoff Dougherty, in a Feb. 7, 2006, blog posting at Chi*town Daily News
The grants aim to help the non-profit sites draw a larger audience by providing more local news, a key to their long-term viability... The grants are part of Knight Foundation's efforts to help find new, sustainable models for delivering news and information in the digital age. Knight has invested $100 million in media innovative initiatives. They include the Knight News Challenge, an annual contest to find the most innovative ideas for information delivery and exchange and a high-level commission examining national media policy.
In 2007, Chi-town Daily News was awarded one of the Knight News Challenge grants, a two-year $340,000 grant to train 75 volunteer journalists. From an article in the Chi-town Daily News on receiving this award:
"The grant project is noteworthy because it delineates a new horizon for citizen journalism. While some news organizations (the BBC, OhMyNews) have launched ambitious citizen journalism efforts, nobody has attempted to create an organized, cohesive system that enables coverage of a large city."
April 1, 2008
ChiTownDailyNews.org was launched in late 2005 by a former Chicago Tribune reporter, Geoff Dougherty, to provide local news online to the nation's second-largest city. PublicMedia Inc. is described as as an Illinois not-for-profit corporation which is seeking federal tax-exempt status.