We’re kicking off a blog series to showcase how we are developing critical organizational policies. Help us reimagine what a non-profit newsroom looks like.

By Andrea Faye Hart


The City Bureau team is gearing up for a big year in 2018: We’re organizing and testing out growth for our Documenters. We’re expanding our Public Newsroom to the West Side andwatching others remix the concept, including outside of Chicago (more on that in future blogs).

In every way possible, we are investing in our people, our community. An essential part of that investment means intentionally designing our internal processes as an organization, to make sure we are continuing to embody our mission as we grow. This includes designing quality hiring practices, defining wellness and so much more. The importance of writing these policies now became even more apparent to me while attending SRCCON: WORK, a two-day workshop series of “of care, community, and collaboration” to “make journalism more inclusive, representative, and responsive” in December. It was fun to gush about City Bureau’s journalistic work and how we’re reimagining local news with my peers during the gathering. But it also revealed the awesome task we have before us — to reimagine what a nonprofit news organization looks like, and to create a model for change in the face of challenging social and economic realities.

You can tell I’m pretty pumped about this City Bureau growing its mission and taking steps to reimagine non-profits.

To kick this planning off we are starting a blog series to be transparent about the whole process. First up we want to share some of the big questions we are mulling over (listed thematically below).

With everything we do, we want this organizational planning to be an open dialogue with our community. So please, send us your thoughts on the below policy areas. I’ve included some questions we are asking ourselves to demonstrate how we want to frame these policies.

We’re dreaming big here while also taking the time to realistically reflect on harmful processes people internalize because the world is full of unjust systems. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please email me at andrea@citybureau.org. We’ll be sharing updates along the way.

City Bureau’s Organizational Policies

  1. Hiring and Recruitment:
    • How do you identify talent for your mission-driven start-up?
    • How do you onboard staff once you’ve hired them?
    • What are helpful and healthy assessments for employees?
    • What do quality agreements with contract workers look like?
    • How do we plan for transitions within and outside of the organization?

  2. Wellness:
    • How do we support the wellness of staff?
    • What is missing from traditional health care policies?
    • What kind of paid leave policies support a healthy workplace?

  3. Accountability:
    • Reimagining a Human Resource Department: HR departments often justifiably get a bad reputation, so how do we ensure our employees have the right resources to succeed personally and professionally without replicating the ineffective ways this is done elsewhere?
    • What does healing and accountability look like around issues of racism, classism, sexism and ableism?
    • How should we facilitate dialogues around internal disputes?

  4. Office culture:
    • How do we create a positive work environment?
    • How do we promote internal learning?
    • How do we grow leaders?
    • What should professional development look like for staff and others?

If you’ve worked with a start-up, what are other essential questions we should be asking ourselves during this process? What cautionary tales? What are some triumphs you’ve had in the workplace?

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