Close Close Comment Creative Commons Donate Email Add Email Facebook Instagram Facebook Messenger Mobile Nav Menu Podcast Print RSS Search Secure Twitter WhatsApp YouTube

Help Us Figure Out Where in Illinois to Take Our Theater-Journalism Project

ProPublica Illinois and Free Street Theater are gearing up for a new project about the news and information that impacts Illinoisans. Where should we go? What issues should we address? And will you host us?

This story was first published in ProPublica Illinois’ weekly newsletter. Sign up for that here.

ProPublica Illinois is teaming up with Free Street Theater on a six-month initiative to engage with communities around the state. You may think it’s a little strange for a newsroom of investigative journalists to collaborate with a community-minded theater collective. It is. But it makes sense if you know the context of our work and goals.

First, a little background. When ProPublica Illinois opened its doors in October of last year, we knew that listening to people and involving them in our reporting would play a central role in our approach to journalism. We also knew that we’d need to think creatively about how to bridge divides and earn trust if we wanted our journalism to resonate across the state’s diverse, geographically disparate communities. In partnership with Illinois Humanities, we put out a call for projects that would help us address that challenge. That’s how we met Free Street Theater.

Free Street Theater has a long history (49 years!) of using live exercises and activities to facilitate conversations among people with different perspectives in ways that are fun, honest and informative. What if we were to find ways to connect what they do and what we do?

Here’s the idea: Working with ProPublica Illinois, Free Street will facilitate workshops around the state to spark discussion around the news and information that impacts Illinoisans. Based on what we’ve learned, Free Street will then provide ProPublica Illinois and the communities we visit with the tools to host future conversations.

Here’s where we’d like your input to shape what this project looks like:

  • Our goal is to hold these workshops throughout Illinois. So, where should we go? Why? What are people already talking about there? This project is about conversation and information. We want to start by learning directly from you about issues in your own community. Has there been a lot of discussion about a police-related incident where you live? Are there issues with your drinking water? Or with pesticide use? Did a large employer recently close — or open? This type of input will help us create relevant, useful and responsive workshops that fit your community.

    We’d like to visit a mix of urban, rural and suburban parts of the state, and we’re up to hold these workshops in storefronts, historical societies, libraries, the back room of a restaurant, a travel plaza — pretty much anywhere. Tell us where you think we should go and why we should go there.

  • Who should we work with? We’re looking for people who are involved in their communities in some way. Maybe you’re an organizer, a teacher, a librarian, a parks and recreation department employee, or you just have a tight-knit group of friends. Reach out, say hello, and consider inviting us over. Or maybe you know someone else we should speak to. Send them our way.

Have more questions about this project? Let’s talk about it. Email ProPublica Illinois engagement reporter Logan Jaffe: [email protected].

Have a nice weekend.

Logan

Protect Independent Journalism

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that produces nonpartisan, evidence-based journalism to expose injustice, corruption and wrongdoing. We were founded ten years ago to fill a growing hole in journalism: newsrooms were (and still are) shrinking, and legacy funding models failing. Deep-dive reporting like ours is slow and expensive, and investigative journalism is a luxury in many newsrooms today — but it remains as critical as ever to democracy and our civic life. A decade (and five Pulitzer Prizes) later, ProPublica has built the largest investigative newsroom in the country. Our work has spurred reform through legislation, at the voting booth, and inside our nation’s most important institutions.

This story you’ve just finished was funded by our readers and we hope it inspires you to make a gift to ProPublica so that we can publish more investigations like this one that holds people in power to account and produces real change.

Your donation will help us ensure that we can continue this critical work. From the Trump Administration, criminal justice, health care, immigration and so much more, we are busier than ever covering stories you won’t see anywhere else. Make your gift of any amount today and join the tens of thousands of ProPublicans across the country, standing up for the power of independent journalism to produce real, lasting change. Thank you.

Donate Now

Portrait of Logan Jaffe

Logan Jaffe

Logan Jaffe is the engagement reporter for ProPublica Illinois.

More from ProPublica

Current site Current page