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When Illinois Laws Meet Real People

We want to know how video gambling, vehicle sticker tickets and more affect your life.

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

We’ve had lots going on lately. As you know, last week we published our first investigation into video gambling in Illinois. We’re excited that the story, co-published with WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times, was also published in a number of newspapers across the state: The State Journal-Register in Springfield; the Journal Star in Peoria; the Rockford Register Star; and The Southern Illinoisan, to name a few.

As part of our video gambling investigation, you may remember, we’re looking to hear from people who believe they or someone they know are compulsive video gamblers — and responses have been coming in. Thank you for sharing your stories with us and for helping to spread the word. Some responses have been heartbreaking to read. All of them will help inform the reporting we do in the future. Please keep them coming.

In non-gambling news, our reporting on vehicle tickets in Chicago — and how the city’s current policies burden the poor — seems to have influenced the city’s mayoral race. Check out our new story, with partner WBEZ, on where the candidates stand on ticket and debt collection reform.

If you are affected by or interested in this issue, please consider joining our Facebook group for Chicago drivers navigating vehicle ticket troubles or attending our event that’s focused in part on our interactive database, The Ticket Trap. Register here.

One more thing. Two weeks ago, I wrote to you asking for your feedback on our newsletter to help shape how we communicate with you in the future. Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses. We’re taking them to heart. I want to share a few with you:

“I really enjoy the tone of the newsletter. It feels familiar, but not overly so; informative without being pedantic; engaged but not constantly talking about urgency and crises (fair for this to be the tone of many communications, but also exhausting); and genuine.”

Thank you! That’s exactly the balance we’re trying to strike (and it is genuine to the vibe of our newsroom).

“Particularly given my interest in Illinois, I’d love to see you highlight local journalism from other papers, radio station, etc., beyond the ones you collaborate with.”

Noted. We’ve heard from a number of subscribers who said they mostly read our newsletter to stay informed about issues around the state, so this seems like an easy add. Plus, we’re reading and listening to stories by our Illinois colleagues all the time!

“I use your newsletter to stay in touch with my roots. … I enjoy and appreciate both your ‘muckraking’ journalism but also the softer side of your reporting that highlights the things I love and miss about the Midwest.”

Part of our goal is to be transparent about who we are as people and what we’re learning and thinking about as we report stories. We also know it’s important to get out of Chicago, and it’s something we want to do more. And we’re always looking to hear from you about what’s happening where you live. Write us anytime.

Until next week …

Logan Jaffe
Engagement reporter, ProPublica Illinois

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