What is the Public Newsroom?

Once a week, we turn our Woodlawn office into an open space where journalists and the public can gather to discuss local issues, share resources and knowledge and learn to report and investigate stories in partnership with the South Side Weekly and Build Coffee. We’ll bring in guest speakers and host workshops on things like how to use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain government records, how to find and analyze public data and how to tell your own audio/video stories—in addition to hands-on presentations, we'll be exploring issues ranging from narratives in media to culture + art and any number of ideas relevant to Chicago and the nation at-large.

For working journalists, the public newsroom is a place to find and shape stories in direct conversation with readers. For the public, the newsroom is a front-row seat into how journalism gets made, and a chance to impact the way your community is covered in the media.

The Public Newsroom is always free, always open to the public and always live-streamed online (thanks, in part, to public support via our Public Newsroom Kickstarter campaign in August 2016). Want to continue the conversation? Join us and more than 300 others at the Public Newsroom Facebook group.

What do I get out of the Public Newsroom?

We see three big reasons to stop by and engage with our space:

  1. You get an extra watchdog in the neighborhood. Every month there are dozens of meetings and public events that only a handful of people attend, but where important decisions are made. By hiring Community Documenters to record public events, and bringing them together in the public newsroom, we can quickly expand the number of eyes and ears we have on the ground, creating better public oversight for everyone.

  2. Journalism can be more responsive to your needs. The Public Newsroom will build communication and trust between journalists and readers. In-person feedback and conversation can improve reporting in a way online commenting never could. At the same time, we’ll give residents a better public understanding of the power and limitations of journalism.

  3. A more inclusive newsroom benefits everyone. Without getting too grandiose about it, we think the creation of spaces like this could have a deep, long-term impact on American journalism. We're breaking down barriers to bring diverse perspectives into newsrooms. Even if you don’t personally come (though you should!), everybody benefits when there are more voices in the room.


How do I get to the Public Newsroom?

The newsroom is open every other Thursday from 4-8p: See the Public Newsroom Schedule


Who's presented in the past?

Writer, poet and Chicago-based academic Eve Ewing on media narratives and reporters can responsibly cover marginalized communities.

WBEZ education reporter Linda Lutton on her recent hour-long radio special, "The View from Room 205".

Chicago Reader reporter Maya Dukmasova on covering public housing in Chicago.

Independent journalists Adeshina Emmanuel and Jamie Kalven with attorney Sheila Bedi on decoding Chicago's police union contract.

DataMade's Jean Cochrane and Hannah Cushman on data journalism 101.

Chicago Reader critic Leor Galil on covering music, art and culture.


The Public Newsroom Schedule:


We’re located at 6100 S. Blackstone Ave. at our home-away-from-home, the Experimental Station in Woodlawn.


Find us on Twitter @City_Bureau and @SouthSideWeekly—have a question, comment or idea? Use the #PublicNewsroom hashtag to drop us a line.


At the Public Newsroom right now? Sign in here. Fill out the post-workshop survey here.