The Reporter was founded in 1972 by John A. McDermott to measure Chicago’s progress toward racial equality as the civil rights era ended. Since its inception, it has been housed at the Community Renewal Society, a faith-based social justice organization.
As one of America’s most segregated cities, Chicago continues to experience racial and economic inequality. The Reporter serves a critical role in the city and nation by focusing the power of investigative reporting on issues of inequality that rarely receive thorough and regular examination by mainstream media organizations. Our core areas of coverage are criminal justice, affordable housing and economic development, jobs and transportation.
The Reporter’s investigations have had a significant impact on policy and the public discourse in Chicago. In the 1980s, then Mayor Harold Washington cited the Reporter’s work in addressing longstanding racial inequalities in the distribution of city services. Almost 25 years later, the Reporter’s investigation of racially disparate home mortgage lending sparked a lawsuit by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan that resulted in an $8.7 billion settlement with Countrywide Financial. And in 2015, the Reporter was the only media organization in the city to acquire a video of a police officer shooting into a car of unarmed African-American teenagers, one of many cases of police-involved shootings leading up the release of a video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.