Press Release

Experience Reporting Back: Perspectives on Violence in Chicago Communities


WHAT: Public presentation and dialogue with Reporting Back media teams

WHEN: Monday, May 18, 2015. Free. Register at

WHERE: Film Row Cinema, Columbia College, 1104 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago

WHO: Sponsors: Illinois Humanities; Community Media Workshop; Robert R. McCormick Foundation

CHICAGO— As violence in major cities throughout the country consistently makes headlines, a group of journalists in Chicago and their citizen partners offer an innovative approach to coverage of its impact. Reporting from Englewood, Humboldt Park, Woodlawn and Bronzeville, these reporting pairs placed neighborhood conversations at the center of the newsgathering process.

The results are original multimedia community reporting projects about local reactions to the critical issue of violence in Chicago. Reporting Back: Perspectives on Violence in Chicago Communities, an initiative of the Illinois Humanities Council, is a collection of  works in text, audio, video and comics journalism from some of the neighborhoods most impacted by gun violence. The content will be unveiled at a public presentation and dialogue May 18.

When filmmaker Spike Lee recently announced the title of his forthcoming film on gang violence in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood as “Chiraq, ” he jumpstarted a public debate about Chicago’s media image. These fresh takes on a longstanding issue add to that critical conversation.

Since December 2014, four teams – each consisting of a professional journalist and a neighborhood resident – have held public dialogue sessions in these neighborhoods to ensure that their work fuels and informs the conversations already happening in these communities.

“Consulting community stakeholders from square one has played a crucial role in providing opportunities for these teams to engage in deeper, more meaningful storytelling,” said Simon Nyi, Program Manager for Media and Journalism at the Illinois Humanities Council.

After an open, gallery-style exhibition featuring highlights from each project, Rebecca Stevens of The Dilettantes, an arts collective focused on building interactive experiences, will lead a group dialogue inspired by the teams’ work.  The Community Media Workshop and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation are co-sponsors.

Reporting Back: Perspectives on Violence in Chicago Communities will take place on Monday, May 18 at 6:30pm in Columbia College’s Film Row Cinema (1104 S. Wabash Ave) in Chicago, Illinois.  The event is free and open to the public, though registration is required.  To register, visit or email  For more information, please contact Simon Nyi, Program Manager for Media and Journalism at the Illinois Humanities Council, at 312.422.5586 or

About the Illinois Humanities Council

The Illinois Humanities Council is an independent, nonprofit state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, with a mission to strengthen society by fueling inquiry and conversation about the ideas and works that shape our culture. The IHC engages communities across Illinois in conversation in a variety of humanities programs that focus on Public Policy, Media & Journalism, Business and Art. The IHC lowers barriers to participation and offers access to programs, events, and grants to all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.