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About

History

Founded in 1989 as the Community Media Workshop, Public Narrative was born out of the belief that a free and informed press, as well as an educated public, are the cornerstones of democracy.

Hank DeZutter, Studs Terkel, and Thom Clark

Founders Hank DeZutter, a journalist and educator, and Thom Clark, a photographer and neighborhood nonprofit newsletter writer, saw that too many times, the voices of power were the ones quoted in news stories, rendering invisible the people working for change in the neighborhoods.

With a grant from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the two men started training people who worked in nonprofits about the media. 

In 1994, the Studs Terkel Community Media Award was born. This award is given each spring to journalists whose stories reflected the values of Terkel’s narrative storytelling. Since 1994, more than 120 journalists have been recognized for their work.

In 1995, we began producing a media contacts guide, “Getting on the Air and Into Print,” which provided contact information for Chicago-area journalists and media outlets. Due to organizational transitions, guide production and distribution halted in the 2000s, but the in-demand Chicago Media Guide was officially relaunched in 2023, once again serving the communities, leaders, nonprofits and journalists with thousands of contacts in the local, and even national media landscape.

The Ethnic & Community Media Project was launched in 2009. The project supports nearly 200 ethnic and community media outlets whose stories are part of the fabric of Chicago’s many neighborhoods.

DeZutter retired in 2004 and 10 years later, Thom Clark stepped down as president, handing the reins to Susy Schultz. That same year, Firebelly Inc. began a process to examine the organization’s impact on the city. They found that while the Workshop enjoyed great respect and many knew of the work, not many knew the name. Therefore, in 2015, the organization was renamed Public Narrative to better reflect the work of teaching storytelling to nonprofits and journalists. 

In 2019, Jhmira Alexander became the president and executive director of Public Narrative. Under her leadership, the organization works with youth for the first time ever and facilitated the Chicago Community, Media & Research Partnership with Northwestern.

Timeline

1989

Founded at Malcolm X College.

1993

Moved to Columbia College Chicago, reflecting both institutions' deep commitment to the community.

1994

1st Studs Terkel Community Media Awards. 

1996

The Community News Project launched at the Democratic National Convention.

2009

The Ethnic & Community Media Project begins.

2013

Awarded a Golden Trumpet from the Publicity Club of Chicago for NATO storytelling project. 

2014

Susy Schultz was hired as the new president.

2019

30-year anniversary, 25-year anniversary of the Terkel Awards, and Jhmira Alexander was hired as the new president.

Teaser

Public Narrative is Chicago’s premiere cultivator of narrative change and supporter of community-oriented journalism since 1989.

Our mission

Public Narrative is a Chicago-based nonprofit that facilitates training, programming and resource building focused on cultivating media literacy, uplifting community voices in media, and shifting narratives around public health, public safety, and public education. We balance the public narrative through equity, inclusivity and authenticity frameworks in all aspects of media coverage: from storytelling to consumption and the production and promotion of all media forms. We leverage the organization's expertise in communications training and leading courageous discussions across diverse stakeholder groups, including journalists, youth, educators, members of law enforcement, researchers and other community members. We engage in storytelling, interviews, focus groups and events for implementing narrative change strategies toward long-term, sustainable systemic change.

With nonprofits:

We teach community groups and leaders messaging and storytelling across platforms. We reconnect people to their mission, help refocus their staff and reprioritize their work. Many of the people we work with are underrepresented voices, people of color, women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community — audiences that must be better represented by media outlets and hear more complete stories about themselves and their communities.

With journalists:

We teach best practices in journalism and provide resources that can help with issue reporting. We remind journalists that a complete story does not just outline the problem, but also recognizes those working on solutions and the resources being disseminated. We help journalists find the people in the community dealing with the issues they cover and teach best practices in authentic relationship building with the audiences they serve.

With both groups and the communities they serve:

We bring neighborhood thought leaders, key organizations and journalists together to tell better and more equitable stories.

What we believe:

  • We believe a free and informed press, as well as an educated public, are the cornerstones of democracy.
  • We know also that an uninformed civil society not only suffers from being left out but falls victim to myths and stereotypes.
  • And we know that a media that does not reflect its audience and understand those concerns becomes irrelevant
  • Public Narrative's goal has always been to amplify nonprofit and neighborhood voices, so they are not only heard but are part of the ongoing conversation on issues that affect them.

Teaser

Public Narrative has been elevating community voices in journalism for more than 30 years. Our programs support more than 200 community and ethnic news outlets and for-and not-for-profit organizations, building meaningful relationships across Chicago, greater Illinois and beyond.

Talking Points

Diversifying the voices in the news

Equipping community organizations with media literacy training and resources

Connecting the community with the media

Teaching journalists better issue reporting

Promoting news that matters

Our Team

Jhmira Alexander

Yaseen Abdus-Saboor

Erica Bell

Teena Francois-Blue

Dr. Kenneth Nole

Olivia Obineme

Quote

“More than ever, we need to truly talk with and listen to each other. We need a Public Narrative to help create a better understanding of each other.”

Hank DeZutter, co-founder

Awards

The 2024 Community Media Awards

The 29th Annual Community Media Awards will be held in person at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2024.

Registration, including an Early Bird sale, is now open while tickets last. Reserve your spot at bit.ly/PNCMAS24.

🚨Nominations for award categories are now open. The deadline for nominations has been extended until 10 p.m. Friday, Mar. 8, 2024. No exceptions will be made.

Awards

Studs Terkel

Public Narrative's guiding star, Studs Terkel, helped choose the award recipients for years and gracefully led the annual ceremony. Today, the Studs Terkel Award honorees are selected by a committee of past Terkel Award winners.

Nominate someone now.

Uplifting Voices

The winners of this recognition elevate the voices of people in communities. They use their platforms, influence, or access to advance Chicago communities that are under-resourced and under-heard.

Nominate someone now.

Ripple Effect

This prize recognizes quality journalism that has enlightened and inspired people in Chicago and/or across the country — journalists whose investigative work changed policies or whose engaging, well-researched stories shifted the public narrative around an issue.

Nominate someone now.

People's Choice, Emerging & Established

We are excited to announce that the People's Choice Awards are returning for the second year. This award celebrates media creators of all ages who have reshaped harmful narratives in their communities. The general public can nominate journalists, storytellers, and media makers, and the titles of People's Choice in both the Emerging and Established categories will be awarded to those with the most nominations. Let's continue to elevate and celebrate the transformative power of storytelling in our communities.

Nominate someone now.

Become a Community Media Award Sponsor or Media Partner

Public Narrative is grateful for all our past sponsors and media partners who have supported the Community Media Awards. If you are interested in supporting Public Narrative's signature event. Reach out to us using the email address below for more information.

Questions, general or otherwise?

Please email the Public Narrative team at info@publicnarrative.org.


About the Awards

The annual Community Media Awards have been honoring community-centered journalism since 1994. Scroll down to see a list of past winners.

THE STUDS TERKEL AWARD

Louis B. “Studs” Terkel was not just a name to us. He was a mentor and a guiding star, from the founding of the organization in 1989, until he died in 2008. For years, Studs Terkel himself helped choose the recipients of the award and for years, he gracefully and graciously led the annual ceremony. Today the Terkel Award honorees are chosen by the people that Studs recognized for their exceptional journalism: a committee of past Terkel Award winners.

Criteria for the Studs Terkel Community Media Award:

  • Recognizes a body of work, rather than a single article or series.
  • Is open to any Chicago-area journalist on any platform at any stage in their career (this can go beyond bylines and include editors, producers or other 'behind-the-scenes' journalists).
  • Must demonstrate quality journalism, authentic storytelling and be exemplary when it comes to Studs’ gift of elevating people’s voices above power. As Studs said in 2007, the award is meant for journalists who go the extra mile in reporting news “from the people who made Chicago, news that’s bottom up rather than up, down. … That’s what this is all about.” Think of an investigative reporter who brings data to life via real people’s stories, or a radio journalist who tells stories about people you would never have otherwise met.

At the end of each ceremony, we honor Studs Terkel by playing his favorite song: "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie.


THE UPLIFTING VOICES AWARD (begun in 2014)

Criteria for the Uplifting Voices Award:

  • Recognizes a body of work, rather than a single article or series.
  • Is open to any Chicago-area artist, activist, writer, musician, educator, journalist, or community leader, on any platform at any stage in their career.
  • Must demonstrate examples of work that elevates the voices of people in communities. Think of people who use their own platforms, influence or access for the advancement of Chicago communities that are under-resourced and under-heard. Past winners include poets, activists, nonprofit leaders, and journalists.

THE RIPPLE EFFECT AWARD (begun in 2019)

Criteria for the Ripple Effect Award:

  • Recognizes a body of work, rather than a single article or series.
  • Is open to any journalist on any platform at any stage in their career (this can go beyond bylines and include editors, producers or other 'behind-the-scenes' journalists). Unlike the Studs Terkel Award, the Ripple Effect Award is not limited to Chicago-area journalists, but can include journalists from across the U.S.
  • Is granted to a journalist anywhere in the U.S. whose work has had an impact in Chicago and beyond. Must demonstrate quality journalism that has enlightened and inspired people across the country. Think of journalists whose investigative journalism changed policies, or whose engaging, well-researched stories shifted the public narrative around an issue.

Past Awards

2023 Community Media Awards

Click here to watch the playback of our 28th Annual Community Media Awards, which took place on Thursday, May 11.

  • Melissa Sanchez, Investigative Reporter, ProPublica
  • Tiffany Walden, Cofounder and Editor-in-Chief, The TRiiBE
  • Carlos Ballesteros, Investigative Reporter, Injustice Watch
  • Jodi Cohen, Investigative Reporter, ProPublica

The winner of the 2023 Uplifting Voices Award is:

  • Jamie Nesbitt Golden, Reporter, Block Club Chicago

The winner of the 2023 Ripple Effect Award is:

  • Craig Dellimore, Host, WBBM

Thanks again to our 2023 Community Media Award sponsors, Northeastern Illinois University and Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism, Media and Integrated Marketing Communications, and our media partners CANT TV and Chicago Journalists Association. Please watch the CAN TV broadcast and share!


Past Winners

2022

  • Bob Black, Photojournalist, formerly Chicago Sun-Times & Chicago Defender
  • Maya Dukmasova, Senior Reporter, Injustice Watch
  • Jacqueline Serrato, Barrio Journalist & Editor-in-Chief, South Side Weekly
  • María Inés Zamudio, Reporter, WBEZ
  • Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Chicago Urban Historian & CEO of Chicago Mahogany Tours (Uplifting Voices Award)
  • Michelle Duster, Author, Professor and Public Historian (Ripple Effect Award)
Click here to watch a playback of the full ceremony, as well as individual videos of the winners' speeches along with introductions by past winners.

2021

  • Brandis Friedman, WTTW
  • Michael Puente, WBEZ
  • Maureen O'Donnell, The Chicago Sun-Times
  • Karen Hawkins, The Chicago Reader & Rebellious Magazine
  • Tonika Lewis-Johnson, The Folded Map Project (Uplifting Voices Award)
  • Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute (Ripple Effect Award)
Click here to watch the full ceremony. Note: The awards were postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2019

  • Deborah Douglas, Managing Editor, MLK 50: Justice Through Journalism
  • Britt Julious, Freelance writer and editor
  • Jerome McDonnell, Reporter and former host of Worldview, WBEZ
  • Annie Sweeney, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Jeff McCarter, Founder & Executive Director of Free Spirit Media (Uplifting Voices Award)
  • Nikole Hannah-Jones, Creator of 1619 Project, The New York Times (NEW Ripple Effect Award)
Click here to watch the full ceremony via CAN TV. Click here to see a photo gallery from the evening.

2018

  • Kathy Chaney, Asst. Audience Engagement Editor, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Michael Spencer Green, Photojournalist, The Associated Press
  • Dahleen Glanton, Columnist, Chicago Tribune
  • Odette Yousef, Reporter, 91.5 WBEZ Chicago
  • Kevin Coval, Poet, Author, Activist and Educator (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
Watch the full ceremony here.

2017

  • Cate Cahan, Editor, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Steve Mills, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Carlos Javier Ortiz, Photographer and filmmaker
  • Univision Chicago Newsroom
  • Terry Mazany (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
  • Yam G-Jun (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)
Watch the full ceremony here.

2016

  • Lolly Bowean, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Richard Steele, Program Host & Correspondent, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Sarah Karp, Reporter, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Cecilia Vaisman, Reporter, National Public Radio
  • Aurie Pennick (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
  • Khloe Richardson (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)
Watch the full ceremony here.

2015

  • Maudlyne Ihejirika, Reporter & Journalist, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Monica Eng, Producer, Chicago Public Radio/WBEZ
  • Sharon Cohen, Reporter, The Associated Press
  • Darryl Holliday, Reporter & Producer, DNAInfo and The Illustrated Press
  • Adele Simmons (Uplifting Voices Award winner)
  • Columbia Links, Columbia College Chicago (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2014

  • Steve Bogira, Reporter & Blogger, Chicago Reader
  • Alejandro Escalona, Web Manager, Telemundo
  • Steve James, Producer, Kartemquin Films
  • Gordon Quinn, Producer, Kartemquin Films
  • Katie Kather (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)
  • Fred & Nikki Will Stein (Uplifting Voices Award winners)

2013

  • Megan Cottrell, Reporter, Chicago Reporter
  • Fernando Diaz, Managing Editor, Hoy Chicago
  • Dave Hoekstra, Reporter, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Lorne Clarkson (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2012

  • Mick Dumke, Reporter, Chicago Reader
  • Maria Hinojosa, Anchor, PBS and Latino USA on National Public Radio
  • Chip Mitchell, Reporter, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio
  • Daniel Castro (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2011

  • Linda Lenz, Founder and Publisher, Catalyst Chicago
  • Kari Lydersen, Freelance reporter
  • Antonio Olivo, Reporter, Chicago Tribune
  • Devin Katayama (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2010

  • Kate Grossman, Deputy Editorial Page Editor, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Natalie Moore, Public Affairs Reporter, Chicago Public Radio
  • Progress Illinois
  • Mitchell Wenkus (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2009

  • David Jackson, Chicago Tribune
  • Alden Loury, Editor and Publisher, The Chicago Reporter
  • Scott Simon, National Public Radio
  • Thom Clark, Community Media Workshop
  • Hsin Yin Sung (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2008

  • Tom McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Radio Arte, 90.5 FM
  • Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune
  • Karla DiBenedetto (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2007

  • Mary Helt Gavin, Publisher, The Evanston Roundtable
  • Stephen Franklin, Labor and Workplace Reporter, The Chicago Tribune
  • WRTO 1200 AM, La Tremenda (Univision Radio Network)
  • Lilia Markarova (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2006

  • Mark Brown, columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Renee Ferguson, reporter, WMAQ-TV/NBC5
  • Mary Johns and the Editorial Team, Residents’ Journal
  • Sean Patrick Fahey (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2005

  • Tracy Baim, Windy City Media
  • John Conroy, Chicago Reader
  • Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune
  • James Weinstein, In These Times
  • Angela Caputo (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2004

  • Alex Kotlowitz, Journalist and Author
  • Linda Lutton, Daily Southtown
  • Phil Ponce, Chicago Tonight, WTTW
  • Suree Towfighnia (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2003

  • Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune & WGN
  • Jorge Mota, Channel 44, Telemundo
  • Tom Weinberg, Image Union, WTTW
  • Geena Gintzig & Meghan Just (Studs Terkel Community Media Scholarship winner)

2002

  • Shirley Jahad, WBEZ-FM
  • Phil Kadner, Daily Southtown
  • Curtis Lawrence, Chicago Sun-Times
  • WVON-AM 1450

2001

  • Cornelia Grumman, Chicago Tribune
  • Martha Irvine, The Associated Press
  • Salim Muwakkil, In These Times and Chicago Tribune

2000

  • Lee Bey, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Ira Glass, WBEZ
  • Teresa Puente, Chicago Tribune

1999

  • Jon Anderson, Chicago Tribune
  • John H. White, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Laura Washington, The Chicago Reporter
  • Harry Porterfield, WLS Channel 7 News

1998

  • Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune
  • Ben Hollis, Wild Chicago
  • Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Daily Defender

1997

  • Don Terry, New York Times
  • Mary Mitchell, Chicago Sun-Times
  • John McDermott, The Chicago Reporter

1996

  • Ray Suarez, National Public Radio
  • Achy Obejas, Chicago Tribune
  • Carol Marin, NBC Channel 5 News

1995

  • Vernon Jarrett, Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times
  • Charles Nicodemus, Chicago Sun-Times
  • Ben Joravsky, Chicago Reader

1994

  • W. Newman, Chicago Daily News and Sun-Times
  • David Moberg, In These Times
  • Cheryl Corley, National Public Radio

Events

Upcoming Events

Join our mailing list so you don't miss out on programming announcements & more. Click here.


Past events

Watch: The 28th Annual Community Media Awards presented by Public Narrative

Thursday evening, May 11, 2023, we gathered at Northeastern Illinois University's Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies for our annual Community Media Awards. In-person for the first time in three years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Community members, students, educators, community leaders and journalists gathered in the as 5-time host and 1994 Studs Terkel Awards winner Cheryl Corley (with the help of some admirers of the winners) announced the 2023 winners of our Studs Terkel Awards, Uplifting Voices Award, Ripple Effect Award and People's Choice Award. Thank you to our media partner CAN TV for recording and broadcasting the event.

Watch: "Power in the Public Narrative: Chicago's Health Equity Zones" Webinar Series

As part of Congo Square Theatre's annual Celebration of Healing initiative, Public Narrative hosted a 6-part webinar that explored the research findings of the Chicago Public Health Department's Chicago Equity Zones, by the way of public health community projects from across the city under the facilitation of the Chicago Consortium for Community Engagement. The webinars took place virtually from noon - 1:30 pm CT Thursdays, March 23 - April 27.

Watch: "The Story of Us: A Public Forum"

At 9:30 a.m., Monday, Mar. 27, 2023, we gathered at The Chicago Community Trust for a deeper dive into "The Story of Us: Community Image in the News and Other Forms of Media," a 2021 report published by Public Narrative highlighting ways in which media impacts the longstanding and many harmful narratives about young men, boys and communities of color in Chicago and beyond.

Watch: "Black, Male and Under Scrutiny"

Recap the latest event of our new free evening conversation series, Unpacking Narratives.

About the conversation: With Blair Jackson, a high school student and budding storyteller, and Jacoby Cochran, a professional public speaker and storyteller mastering his craft — the Chicago South Siders explore how growing up in their respective parts of town influence how they show up in the world today, in their lives, their communities and in their work— amidst harmful narratives and ongoing violence toward Black people, especially young men and boys.

Watch: "Journalism and the Struggle of Activation"

Recap the first event of our new free evening conversation series, Unpacking Narratives.

About the conversation: Through their individual and shared journeys, Kalven and Lacour explore the state of journalism and activism and the struggle to combine them in ways that uphold the highest standards of journalistic rigor while respecting community dignity.

Watch: 27th Annual Community Media Awards 5/12/22

2022 Community Media Awards

Watch: Intro to Community Media for Health Researchers 3/30/22

March 30 workshop

Watch: Celebration of Change 9/24/20

COC Deborah

Watch: Candid Conversations series

candid conversations together we heal

The Together We Heal Initiative, led by the City of Chicago's Office of Equity and Racial Justice, partnered with Public Narrative to invite local healers, neighbors and faith leaders to talk about community-level healing in its four-part Candid Conversation series. These unmoderated virtual conversations encouraged open and honest discussion about Chicago, healing, and racial equity. As invited guests, participants were asked to weigh in with peers on a series of questions exploring community, collective healing and its impact across our city. Click here to watch all five Candid Conversations, featuring our city's storytellers (above), healers, faith leaders, neighbors, and leaders.

Custom Trainings

Would your organization like to discuss the media and our democracy?

Public Narrative will lead an interactive discussion about fake news, social media and how you can tell the difference.

About Custom Workshops

In addition to our regularly scheduled workshops, Public Narrative offers a flexible and diverse range of custom workshops to nonprofits, news organizations, and individuals.
All our custom workshops are designed to meet your organization's specific needs.

Click here to download a brochure with more information about our custom workshops.

Past Clients:

Girl Scouts of AmericaHousing Forward, INN (Institute for Nonprofit News), the Morton Arboretum, Poynter InstituteStorycatchers Theatre, Univison, the Village of Niles, and many others.

Rates

To make our custom workshops a more affordable option for organizations of all sizes, we offer tiered pricing based on your budget. Rates include the session, call with client up to 2 hours, preparation of materials and a one hour follow up.

For rates, email us at info@publicnarrative.org.

Chicago Media Guide

We’ve relaunched our Chicago Media Guide!

The Chicago Media Guide is a trusted, comprehensive and up-to-date resource staple listing thousands of Chicago media outlets, journalists, writers and more of the country’s third-largest media market. A first of its kind in 1995, Public Narrative, formerly known as the Community Media Workshop, created the guide to provide nonprofits, communicators, everyday Chicagoans and journalists direct access to a one-stop shop of media contacts throughout the city and beyond.

So why do you need the Chicago Media Guide?

The media landscape has changed drastically since we created the first of its kind locally nearly three decades ago. The Chicago Media Guide was then called "Getting On Air, Online and in Print." It served as "Chicago's communication bible," as many referred to it in its early days.

With the growing polarization of today's society, the spread of misinformation and the attacks on the press, the way we communicate, share and expand the truths of our communities relies on many things including better access to spaces that provide credible and diverse coverage on topics that matter to you.

And what are some of the other reasons the Guide is more important and resourceful than ever?

  • The Guide has thousands of entries that include journalists from radio, television, print and online news organizations.
  • We have phone numbers, emails, Twitter handles from legacy media and hundreds of neighborhood and ethnic media outlets that are a pipeline to so many of Chicago’s rich cultural and ethnic enclaves.
  • All of our information is centralized online, easy to access and updated regularly.

In a changing media landscape, the Guide is a valuable source for you and your story regardless of your role in the media ecosystem.

Now how do you use it?

It's really easy! Just sign up and choose your subscription level — we have free and paid options available. Once you're in, you'll have access to either or both of our databases: individual professionals and media outlets. Explore the profiles, and create custom lists for you to easily access and download through your account.

As we said, it's that simple.

In addition to the Guide, we are proud publishers of the Chicago Independent Media Directory created and managed by the Chicago Independent Media Alliance. If you are a small business seeking media that best aligns with your business values and advertising audience, this is the supplemental directory for you. Explore their new database inspired by the Chicago Media Guide and find the overviews of market volume, frequency, reach, coverage areas, and the type of content produced by more than 80 media organizations local to Chicago.

There is more in store for the Chicago Media Guide and how you can use it to bridge gaps between the media and the stories left untold. Text "JOURNALISM" to 22828 so you're the first to know of any updates to our newly relaunched Chicago Media Guide.

Explore the Chicago Media Guide and let us know how we can continue to improve your experiences in better connecting and sharing your stories.

Interested in supporting the innovation behind the Chicago Media Guide? Help us continue building tools like this as part of our push for narrative change.

For more information about sponsorships, group Guide subscriptions, or more, please email the Public Narrative CMG team at mediaguide@publicnarrative.org.

Our Funders

Thank you to the following foundations for their generous support of our work.

 

field-bw-logo

mccormickfoundation-bw

 

Polk Foundation Logo

Contact PN

Have a question or something to share? Please reach out to the Public Narrative team and a team member will get back to you as soon as they can.


Press or General Inquiries: info@publicnarrative.org

Chicago Media Guide: media@publicnarrative.org

Engagement, Partnerships, or Stories to Share: engage@publicnarrative.org

Follow Public Narrative online.

Blog

MEDIA

Find the latest episodes of Public Narrative programming on Chicago's Access Network Television, CAN TV.

Latest Video

https://youtu.be/PsqTtIdkd3c?si=tJ1Lmx_eKvCQxXaK

Premiered Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023

Our host, Jhmira Alexander, invites you to join her for the series premiere of "Public Narrative: A Word with Jhmira Alexander." Special guests include Arkey Adams, former artistic producer for Lookingglass Theatre, and Tacuma Roeback, managing editor of the Chicago Defender.

Watch "Public Narrative: A Word with Jhmira Alexander" on Thursdays at 7 p.m. CT as part of CAN TV's 2023 fall schedule.

Podcasts

Our Stories, Our World

Trailer:

Our Stories, Our World is a youth-led series of community-centered narratives about public safety, public health and public education. This six-episode podcast is a first-ever collaboration between Public Narrative and A Picture’s Worth, an Ohio-based nonprofit focused on strengths-based storytelling for community change. The series combines audio stories and photography to create a set of citizen-centered podcasts that flip the script on traditional media narratives--uplifting community perspectives rather than focusing on conflict.

Youth selected to participate include Kaylen Brandt (left), 17, of Chatham; Daniel Animashaun (center), 16, of Woodlawn; and Andrea Hernandez (right), 19, of Englewood. Our Stories, Our World allows them to highlight key narratives that add depth and context to critical issues. The series also features original music by Malci, a Chicago-based hip-hop artist, producer and co-founder of Why? Records.

The podcast launched in September, and concluded in December 2021. Go to apicturesworth.org/publicnarrative to listen, or find the series on all podcast platforms. Email Mareva Lindo at mlindo (at) publicnarrative (dot) org for media inquiries or information about the podcast.

PODCAST RELEASE SCHEDULE & GUESTS:

  • Oct. 7 - Episode 1: Shohn Williams, Dean of Students at Lindblom Academy, interviewed by Daniel Animashaun (Public Education) 
  • Oct. 21 - Episode 2: Rossana Rodriguez, 33rd Ward Alderwoman, interviewed by Kaylen Brandt (Public Education)
  • Nov. 4 - Episode 3: Vanessa Westley, retired Chicago Police Officer, interviewed by Andrea Hernandez (Public Safety)
  • Nov. 18 - Episode 4: Tynetta Hill-Muhammad, Chicago Chapter Organizer for Black Youth Project 100, interviewed by Andrea Hernandez (Public Safety)
  • Dec. 2 - Episode 5: Taneka Jennings, Campaign Director, Adoptees for Justice, interviewed by Kaylen Brandt (Public Health)
  • Dec. 16 - Episode 6: Shyam Prabhakaran, MD, MS, neurologist and researcher at University of Chicago, interviewed by Daniel Animashaun (Public Health) 
guests
Pictured: Interviewees are (top row from left) Shohn Williams, Rossana Rodriguez, Vanessa Westley, and (bottom row from left) Tynetta Hill-Muhammad, Taneka Jennings, and Shyam Prabhakaran

Updates & Press


Podcast Team

Youth Story-gatherers: Daniel Animashaun, Kaylen Brandt and Andrea Hernandez
Audio Editor: Samantha Gattsek
Music Composer: Malci
Artwork: Dan MacDonald Studios
Executive Producers: Mareva Lindo and Elissa Yancey


Sponsors

sponsors

We Help COMMUNITIES Tell Their STORIES

Our Work

CAN TV

Find the latest episodes of Public Narrative programming on Chicago's Access Network Television, CAN TV.

Latest Video

https://youtu.be/PsqTtIdkd3c?si=tJ1Lmx_eKvCQxXaK

Premiered Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023

Our host, Jhmira Alexander, invites you to join her for the series premiere of "Public Narrative: A Word with Jhmira Alexander." Special guests include Arkey Adams, former artistic producer for Lookingglass Theatre, and Tacuma Roeback, managing editor of the Chicago Defender.

Watch "Public Narrative: A Word with Jhmira Alexander" on Thursdays at 7 p.m. CT as part of CAN TV's 2023 fall schedule.

Careers

Join our team! Please find the available opportunities below.


Digital Engagement Producer, Part-Time

Public Narrative, formerly known as the Community Media Workshop, has spent 35 years advocating and activating media makers, nonprofit organizations, civic officials and community members in telling better stories that reshape narratives across Chicago and beyond.

We’re embarking on numerous strategic initiatives requiring an additional team member ready to tell Public Narrative’s stories and share our resources and services to expand our reach and access to more of our diverse narrative change community.

The Digital Engagement Producer will manage the organization’s social media platforms and newsletters, applying Public Narrative’s mission to the organization’s online presence output and other digital products.

Your responsibilities may include:

  • Curating our bi-weekly newsletter, Narrative Change Community News, and developing additional newsletter products and campaigns designed to reach and engage with PN’s diverse stakeholders and audiences
  • Building out our audiences across our social media platform accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram)
  • Building reader participation in and awareness of PN’s work and mission through social platforms and newsletter products
  • Coordinating engagement initiatives and product improvements across departments

You should apply for this position if you have experience:

  • Writing and editing news, updates, and general information resources/posts  across platforms
  • Organizing digital assets and streamlining content workflows (managing diverse media files and creating structured libraries for efficient access and use is a plus)
  • Producing newsletters in Constant Contact (our current EMS) or other EMS
  • Building reader participation in and awareness of an organization’s work, mission and brand
  • Moderating/curating user-generated content (such as comments, live discussions, etc.)
  • 2+ years of engagement/community management in media/publishing or related non-profit spaces
  • A bachelor’s degree

It also helps if you have:

  • An understanding of and appreciation for Chicago communities
  • An avid news consumer’s understanding of Chicago news, politics and economics
  • Experience increasing reach and engagement at a nonprofit and or media organization
  • Experience with email analytics as well as other listening and engagement tools like Google Analytics and social media management applications like Sprout Social and Hootsuite  (we use Sprout Social)
  • Experience with producing on-brand designs using tools like Canva, with additional experience with Adobe Creative Suite tools when needed
  • Experience with organizational and communication tools like Slack and Airtable

Additional information about this role:

The hired candidate will receive $30/hour to execute their responsibilities on a part-time basis. This role will start out as part-time with the possibility of full-time with benefits. In order to be successfully effective in this role, you must live in the city of Chicago. This role is 100% remote — 75% of that time will be spent independently and collectively working virtually, and 25% of that time will be spent in person for team meetings, events and additional programming/initiatives.

How to apply:

Please use this form to apply no later than 5:30 p.m. CT, Friday, March 1, 2024.

Email us at jobs@publicnarrative.org for any questions. No phone calls, please. We look forward to hearing from you!


About Public Narrative

Public Narrative is a Chicago-based nonprofit that facilitates training, programming and resource building focused on cultivating media literacy, uplifting community voices in media, and shifting narratives around public health, public safety, and public education.

We balance the public narrative through equity, inclusivity and authenticity frameworks in all aspects of media coverage, from storytelling to consumption and the production and promotion of all media forms.

We leverage the organization’s expertise in communications training and leading courageous discussions across diverse stakeholder groups, including journalists, youth, educators, members of law enforcement, researchers and other community members.

We engage in storytelling, interviews, focus groups and events for implementing narrative change strategies toward long-term, sustainable systemic change.

➡ Click to learn more about Public Narrative.

Partnerships

Chicago Community, Media & Research Partnership

Our Mission

Haga clic aquí para leer en español.

The Chicago Community, Media & Research Partnership started in September 2019, with a mission to explore how community media outlets can effectively share health research with communities and populations experiencing health disparities in order to improve their health decision-making. Guided by a nine-member Task Force and collaboratively led by Public Narrative and the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC) at Northwestern University, the project was funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a federal institute dedicated to connecting communities with evidence-based health research to support their health decision-making.

Our Framework

Over two years, our partnership built the capacity of a broad group of community and patient stakeholders, community media journalists, and health researchers to meaningfully connect and understand each other’s perspectives, assets, and needs. This informed the development of a framework showing how health research findings can best reach and serve under-served populations in Chicago, via community media. We're excited to now share the results of our work together: a framework for making research accessible through community media. The framework (below) provides a set of key questions to guide research partnerships through the process of sharing relevant, actionable health information in impactful ways. This approach harnesses the powerful opportunity of more directly engaging diverse communities through media they trust and use.

ccmrp framework

This framework is just one step towards making health research more accessible. Across all three stakeholder groups we heard that there’s a need for structural change within research and media. Public Narrative and ARCC are exploring ways to further this work, and we’re sharing the suggestions we heard from the task force and listening session participants with universities and funders that have the power and resources to implement necessary changes. 

Click here to see the full framework with questions, and click here to read a summary of all that went into it, including examples of necessary structural support suggested by stakeholders throughout the project. Click here to access our project poster. Haga clic aquí para leer en español.


Workshop: Introduction to Community Media for Chicago Health Researchers (3/30/22)

March 30 workshop

What is community media? What are the advantages of engaging community media when disseminating health research? When and how should you engage community media? This online workshop covers the basics of community media in Chicago, and focuses on practical ways for health research institutions and community-engaged health research partnerships to utilize community media when connecting with communities and sharing findings. Designed for health researchers and engaged health research partnerships (also open to community stakeholders and communications staff at health research institutions).

Speakers include Jhmira Alexander (Executive Director, Public Narrative), Yazmin Dominguez (Coordinator, Chicago Independent Media Alliance), Jesús Del Toro (​​Editor-in-Chief, La Raza), Maudlyne Ihejirika (columnist/reporter, Chicago Sun-Times), and Jackie Serrato (Editor-in-Chief, South Side Weekly).


Project Leaders

The project leaders are Jen Brown, MPH, Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Alliance for Research in Chicagoland Communities (ARCC); Jhmira Alexander, President and Executive Director of Public Narrative; Rebecca Johnson, PhD, Independent Researcher specializing in community engagement and partnership; and Mareva Lindo, Director of Media Engagement at Public Narrative.

Task Force

Partnership Updates

Partnership in the news

Task Force meeting in February From top left: Project partners Jhmira Alexander, Young Woon Han (HANA Center), Jesús del Toro (La Raza), Maudlyne Ihejirika, Jackie Serrato (South Side Weekly), Taneka Jennings (HANA Center), Rebecca Johnson, Jen Brown, Mareva Lindo, and Darius Tandon, 02/13/20


Click here to learn more about the PCORI Engagement Award that supported this partnership. To get involved or receive updates about this project, contact partnerships@publicnarrative.org.