Nonprofits and the Media: Getting your story told

Presented by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website, This page is in progress, undergoing frequent update.

Neighborhood Links, Media and Resources. Nonprofit Organizations in or relevant to Hyde Park-Kenwood and resource orgs. for neighborhoods.
Community Resources. Good Neighbor/Volunteering. News from Collaborers in the Community.

Build your own website contest- visit

This page is relatively new! Tell us how we can make it more useful. Several in the community have suggested that Hyde Park needs a central web clearing house for events and events scheduling and coordination among organizations. For an extensive list of neighborhood media websites, list serves and blogs see Neighborhood Links. Find more, topic-related links lists from our Directories and Calendars index, and other topic homepages reachable from the Site Navigator ("Neighborhood" button on the homepage).

We would not be surprised if the UC campus media websites are starting to link into the emerging and social media, increasingly where you'll find the young-- and also the communication of nonprofit and even for profit arts organizations. You really have to go to the Community Media Workshop of Columbia College (linked at bottom of "Getting Started") and become involved with such local training and support programs as U C Division of Humanities Civic Knowledge Project and its Southside Arts and Humanities Network and other sections such as Southside Sustainability/Partners for a Sustainable Chicago or.

Community Media Workshop has many excellent seminars and conferences, including Making Media Connections (scholarships available). Visit Or email You can also buy their magisterial directory and guidebook to Chicago Media.

Getting started

(Derived from) Meet the Media-Telling Your Story
Civic Knowledge South Side Arts and Humanities Network/ Community Media Workshop Conference, March 18 2009

By Gary Ossewaarde

General principles

What matters is how our stories are told, how we tie into a community message and expanding the audience by using the tools we can control.

First, you have to know what your core message is, define your communities and audiences, what your purpose and message in reaching each is, and how to get each audience’s attention.

Examples of audiences defined and targeted for purposes: turnout, funding, general awareness (but need to know why), advocacy or filling a niche or gap in building community(ies).

The starter message has to be very short and to the point—who we are and why we are here. One secret is to develop a five-sentence quickie “elevator” speech:

I am _____ with _____.
Do you know how_____? (a problem you know your org. addresses, like “people say opera won’t thrive or connect on the South Side?” (pause for answer or thought to sink in)
What we do is (try to make it one thing, or no more than two)…..
So that_______ (the main benefit you give to the community).
We’re kind of like the (a pithy image or metaphor that stands for the org. and the benefit.)

Recommended: everyone active in the organization should have some sort of elevator speech ready for talking up the group (it’s a great icebreaker anyway—makes you distinctive) and that the elevator speech be prominent in press releases, preceding your description of what you have, are, and will do. (Hint : Think successes, accomplishments. Caveat: Promise only what you can deliver!)
Remember that 1)“Facts” are meaningless by themselves; 2)A “message” is meant to evoke a response; 3)Different audiences (or persons approached) require different “triggers” to get their attention, then response; 4)Triggers can also vary with goals. 5)None of these will be effective if your goals aren’t clear—and if possible tied to at least an implied timeline (for example, “In five years people won’t remember when opera performances—including with youth—were NOT regular at the Center….”). And “simplify, simplify, simplify.”

Social media

These days it is not enough to reach out print media or have a website, listserve, brochure, and or publication. Organizations have to use the new media, particular “social interaction” media such as blogs, Facebook, Flickr, My Space, Twitter. They are labor-intensive (but let you have fun and discover. )The audience often grows slowly by word of mouth and allows your supporters to really get involved and recruit real enthusiasts. These media can help avoid the temptation to try to scattershot and “reach everybody.” Identify your goals and your audiences/demographics. What relationships you want will help you clarify your messages and hence find the right tools.

Social media presents your “central idea,” and so helps you find and connect with your OVER SUPPORTERS, those who buy into and disproportionately support (not “you” but) your central idea and become your “I MUST support” funders. Caveat—social media is not good at selling “things” –like your concert—send them to your website for that.

Major social media and their characteristics:


Easy to set up and use templates. Newest is at the top. The comments and conversation become the main part—if your purpose is just to give out information or punch your viewpoint, the blog may not be for your organization. But even for these, by setting up groups and pods with automatic alerts, it’s great for news and events blasts also—lots of galleries, artists, music, and advocacy groups are using blogs and especially podcasts.

Flickr. Best for stills, such as disseminating pictures from an event, or enticing an audience with meet-the-cast previews. Lots of room for description of or comments or discussion by those featured.

Social interaction-driven:

MySpace. Best for videos and photos, as for events, candid’s of rehearsals….

Facebook. Most effective for notices and short descriptions through its “fan of” function.

Ning. Possibly upcoming. Rather difficult; best for already-large orgs., businesses, interest groups.

Twitter. Used for actual personalized calls, like list serves or phone blasts. Limited to 140 characters per “tweet,” so it’s probably best to send a personalizing greeting then “visit the website (or blog, or Facebook site) right now for…” or “we need your” feedback or poll vote on…. Note- someone has to be on beck and call to answer back!

What about dealing with “regular media” (traditional print, radio, TV...)?

Don’t assume releases are published because you sent it—or as you wrote it! You really need to know THE person covering your subject there, or least the name to send the release to. Developing a good base of contacts in the media takes lots of time (consider contracting with a professional publicist)—but there is nothing like personal relationships and the contacts are flattered that you took the time to research. Let them know what you will have for them in say two months. Most in print media expect to get the release a month in advance and a follow up call 3 weeks in advance—but times vary especially re: events (see tips in Media Event Quick Contacts in Handbook Sec1:53 from Community Media Workshop- see in hints section below and citation Sending way in advance of an event is a waste, and 2 sends is enough! Make sure your subject line is correct, clear, and catches the story. And “no” can just mean “not now.”

Know the style and interests of each media outlet, and how your story might fit into what they are looking for. Even more, look for a connection of your story with a larger or unusual story or live topic of interest in your community and/or the larger world—a hook. And have the full “backstory” ready and polished for when you strike gold.

For more: Community Media Workshop of Columbia College has published an encyclopedic “Making Media Connections Editorial Handbook: Getting on the Air, Online & into Print.” c$115. Visit
South Side Arts and Humanities Network of Civic Knowledge Project –
The Mission Paradox Blog: The world’s #1 arts marketing blog-


Adapted From Creating an On-line Strategy

By Community Media Workshop, The public is invited to adapt or reproduced.

What key audience(s) are you trying to reach?

(i.e. members, attendees, customers, donors, institutional funders, subsection of residents)


What do you want to do on-line?

__ recruit participants
__ increase donors/funds
__ advocacy/public education
__ raise awareness
__ other ___________________

What functions should the on-line presence serve?

__ gifts/donations/payments
__ event sign up, registrations
__ share views or stories
__ other ___________________

Who will lead your on-line efforts and how much time will they give?


__ less than 4 hour a week
__ half day
__ 1 day per week
__ more than one day, ____ hours per week or month

How will people find you?

List up to 8 keywords for search engines


What other strategies will draw attention to on-line presence (postcard mailing, email blast, contest...)



What kinds of content are you already creating that can be posted or scanned or "re-purposed" ? (What revisions would make it more suited to what people expect on websites or other online presence?)



What technical resources (software, hardware, server, writers, artists) do you have or need?


(The next step: how can content and approaches be adapted for future export to interactive and social media)




Here are some hints from Community Media Network applicable to different kinds of media.

Do "pitch" CMW-CAN-TV and other broadcast media. The contact at the latter is Hyde Parks' own Curtis Black-

Newsrooms, especially for daily newspapers, have "Daybooks"- schedules of events in their purview going on each day. Send advisories 1 to 3 days ahead. They have general desk/newsroom numbers and email addresses in case you can't reach the assigned person.

TV news planning editors or assignment desks route pitches onto a station's schedule of possible news. Contact 2-4 days ahead. (Be sure directions for reaching you and finding your event are detailed and accurate!) DON'T call right before or during a news show or for radio shows at the top of the hour.


Select media contacts

Please visit Neighborhood Links and Media or contact us at, or visit Community Media Network for more specific print or broadcast media contacts information. There is a slant in the following toward arts-carrying.

Print media and City and Southside and arts media

The Chicago Maroon.,, 773 702-9555, fax 773 702-3032. 1212 E. 59th St., INH 126.

Chicago Weekly. 312 243-8787, fax 773 702-7718. 5706 S. University RC 018. Independent U of C paper affiliated with New City.


Back of the Yards Journal. 7109 W. Archer, 60638. 773 568-1301.

Beverly Review. 1-0546 S. Western Ave. 60643, 773 238-3366.

Black Express News. 10105 S. Wallace, 60628. 773 445-4970.

Bridgeport News. 3252 S. Halsted, 60608. 312 842-5583 or 5883.

Chicago. 4670 N. Manor, 60625. 773 478-6170. Go through website? More current? is 435 N. Michigan Ave. Suite 1100 60611. Nora O'Donnell, Assoc. Editor.

Chicago Crusader., 6426 S. King Dr. 60637. 773 752-2500. Ed.-Publ. Dorothy R. Leavell, Adv. J.L. Smith.

Chicago Defender. 4445 S. King 60653. 312 225-2400, fax 312 225-9231. Earl Calloway for arts/(no email).

Chicago Free Press. (email from website?) 3845 N. Broadway, l60613. 773 868-6005, fax 568-0006.

Chicago Journal. 141 S. Oak, Oak Park Ill 603--. 312 243-2696.

Chicago Life. 773 525-2737.

Chiago Magazine see Chicago.

Chicago Reader. 11 E. Illinois, 60611. 312 828-0350. Ben Joravsky for advocacy. Send releases to as in website sections, for example music@. Ads can be entered online with credit card number from the red button-- small (150 word). Ditto free postings for non profits can be sent from another sectin, but first you have to have called attention and faxed your IRS letter with EIN to 312 828-0682.

Chicago Sun-Times. 350 N. Orleans, 60654. 312 321-3000. Andrew Herrmann, 312 321-2546, othere 1st initial then last name Mary Mitchell, Andrew Patner, Stella Foster, Hedy Weiss, Misha Davenport, Mary, City Desk 312 321-2522, fax 312 321-3084, Sun-Times News Group Wire 312 321-2147, fax 312 321-2148,

Chicago Tribune. Need to go from in website unless have individual's email. 435 N. Michigan Av., 60611. 312 222-3232 or 312 222-9100. Howard Reich, John von Rhein,, Greg Kot Noreen Ahmad-Ullah. City Desk 312 222-3540, fax 312 222-4674, Daybook (2-4 days in advance) fax 312 222-4674,

Citizen Newspapers. 806 E. 78th St. 60619. 773 783-1251.

Copylines. 9026 S. Cregier. 773 375-8127.

Critical Mass.

Daily Southtown. 708-633-6700

Gay Chicago Magazine. 3115 N. Broadway 60657,

Herald Newspapers, Inc. (Hyde Park Herald and Lakefront Outlook). Gabriel Piemonte.,,

Johnson Publishing (Incl. Ebony and Jet). 820 S. Michigan 60605. Need to go in from website.

MG Media - Truth Magazine. Carl West. 312 980-2681.

New City Communications. 770 N. Halsted, 60622. 312 243-8786.

N'DIGO. 19 N. Sangamon 60607. 312 321-2800. Zondra Hughes, editor, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Hermene D. Hartman, 312 264-6254. Ads Len Phillips,, 312 264-6263. VIP Events list:

Resident's Journal/We the People Media. Mary C. Johns. 312 745-2682. Housing and other advocacy issues.

Southeast Chicago Observer. 9204 S. Commercial. 773 768-4386.

South Street Journal. Try also Bronzeville On Line 439 E. 35th St. 60616. 773 373-7000. Yohance Lacour.

The Art Museum of Chicago. Nathaniel McLin or Yohance Lacour- See South Street Journal.

This Week in Chicago. 226 E. Ontario 60611. 312 943-0838.

Time Out. Or 4018 N. Cicero 60641, 312 924-9555. For ads etc. Should be able to go to contact us, find submit and event, go to category such as

Where (Where Traveler Chicago?) 1165 N. Clark St. 606 10. 312 6742-1896. Cannot find a way in website to contact.

World. W. Archer

YEP Paperzine. Moved to Calumet City.

Daybooks for outlets (for 1-3 days in advance)

Associated Press Daybook 312 781-0500, fax 312 930-9564.

Sun Times News Group Wire. 312 321-2147, fax 312 321-2148.

Tribune City Desk daybook. No phone, fax 312 222-4674, Doesn't work.

City Desks: If can't reach a specific journalist or for breaking news. More on some are in the Print media section above.

Chicago Sun-Times City Desk. 312 321-2522, fax 312 321-3084.

Chicago Tribune City Desk. 312 222-3540, fax 312 22-4674.

Southtown Star Newsroom. 708-633-6777, fax 708 633-5999.

Daily Herald. 847 427-4514, fax 847-427-1301.

Interview/guest appearances and news tips

CAN-TV Chicago access cable and WNUA radio. 312 369-6400, fax 312 369-6404. Check also about getting on with Thom Clarke- well in advance.

WTTW-Channel 11: Elizabeth Brackett, John Calloway, Phil Ponce, Joel Weisman

WLS-Channel 7: Harry Porterfield...People You Should Know

TV News Planning Editors (routers) 2-4 days in advance.

WBBM-TV Ch. 2 CBS. Deidra White. 312 202-2668, fax 312 202-3878.

WGN-TV Ch. 9. Maria Toscano. 773 883-7832, fax 773 883-3390.

WLS-TV Ch. 7 ABC. Len Prezak. 773 312 750, 7175, fax 312 899-8019 PREFERS FAX.

WMAQ-TV Ch. 5 NBC. Pam Oliver. 312 836-5575, fax 312 527-5925.

WPWR Ch. 50

WTTW-TV Ch. 11. Tracye Campbell. 773 509-5599. (presum. ebrackett@ etc.).

TV and Radio Assignment Desks. Avoid news show times or for radio top-of-the=hour. Quick pitches and ask if they have calendars.

ChicaogoLand Television. 630 368-4444, fax 630 368-4468. Doesn't work

Ebony-Jet Radio. See in Johnson Publishing.

WBBM-TV (CBS 2). 312 202-3648, fax 312 202-3878.

WFLD-TV (FOX 32) 312 565-5533, fax 312 819-1332.

WFMT (98.7 FM). 5400 N. St. Louis 60625. (Best). Also Carolyn Paulin- Carolyn Paulin, Producer and Program Host, WFMT, 5400 N. St. Louis 60625. Andrew Patner- Otherwise use website contact box. Have to start early, incl. 3 weeks in adv. for Fine Arts Circle. They will work with you.

WGBO-TV (Univision 66). 312 494-6483, 312 494-6496.

WGN-TV (Tribune 9) 773 883-3203, 773 528-6050.

WLS-TV (ABC 7). 312 750-7381, PREFER FAX: 312 899-8019.

WMAQ-TV (NBC 5). 312 836-5658, fax 312 527-5925.

WSNS-TV (Telemundo 44). 312 836-3110, fax 312 836-3232.

WTTW-TV Ch. 11. Tracye Campbell. 773 509-5599. (presum. ebrackett@ etc.)

WBBM-AM (780). 312 297-7793, fax 312 297-7822.

WBEZ-FM (91.5). 312 948-4650, fax 312 832-3158. (may needs to be com- org works for website but via default)
Natalie Y. Moore, Richard Steele

WGN-AM (720). 312 222-4730, fax 312 222-5977.

WVON-AM. Public Service announcements, from website Public service announcement: Also, typed page with who-what-when-where-why-how much sent to and Also Keisha Chavers, Also can send to Cliff Kelley.


A few funders:

Visit The Donors Forum. 208 S. LaSalle St., Chicago IL 60604 312-578-0090. . Information, research and tracking on grant providers and grants given. Many finders and publications are now online.

Some of the Neighborhood Builder organizations in Nonprofits do fund.

Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development. Marcia Festen. P.O. Box 577309, Chicago, IL 60657-7309. 773.296.2601 PHONE, 773.296.2602 FAX. http://www. One of the best for arts, cultural under $1 million.

Black United Fund of Illinois. Theresa Adams. 1809 East 71st Street, Chicago, IL 60649, 773/324-0494, Fax: 773/324-6678. Includes arts.

The Boeing Company Global Corporate Citizenship. Christy Uchida. 312 544-2303.

Chicago Community Trust. Suzanne Connor. 111 E. Wacker Dr. 312 616-8000 x118. Works also through Shorebank.

Civic Knowledge Project/Southside Arts and Humanities Network, The University of Chicago. 1115 E. 58th St. Walker 009, Chicago., IL 60637. 773 834-3929. Joanie Friedman.

The Crossroads Fund. Jane Kimondo. 3411 W. Diversey #20, Chicago, IL 60647. 773 277-7676. Tied also to Shorebank.

Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundations (and many offshoots). Paul Botts. 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2600, Chicago, Illinois 60601-2102. 312-977-2700 phone also given as 312-977-1686 fax 312 977-2709.

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Richard Cahan. 203 North Wabash, Suite 1800, Chicago, Illinois 60601. 312 641-5772. 312 641-5772.

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. Sydney Sidwell. 120 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1950, Chicago, IL 60603-3419. Phone: (312) 580-0310, Fax: (312) 580-0980. Also given as 312 580-0310.

Harper Court Arts Council. Paula Jones. 1525 E. 53rd St. Ste. 720, Chicago, IL 60615. 773 363-8282.

Illinois Humanities Council, A State Agency. Dimitra Tasiouras. Also given as, Suite 1400 17 North State St., Chicago, IL 60602.3296. 312 422-5580. Also given as 312 422-5585 x255.

Southside Preservation Action Fund. See in our SPAF page examples of small projects. Jack Spicer. 773 324-5476.

The Woods Fund of Chicago. Deborah Harrington. 360 N. Michigan Ave. Ste. 1600, Chicago, IL 60601. 312 782-2698, fax 312 682-4155.

Cheney, Genius, Morse, Mac Arthur, Prince, Steans also can be looked into. Many funds give only to known causes and recipients and do not solicit asks.