Reporter news: September/October 2011

The Chicago Reporter exposed several lenders who failed to register hundreds of foreclosed and vacant single-family homes within the City of Chicago. Just weeks after the investigation, the Chicago City Council—by a 49-0 vote—passed legislation meant to force banks to maintain such properties.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel commended the legislation, noting the city spent $15.5 million last year to demolish or care for such properties. In its May/June 2011 investigation, “Despair over disrepair,” the Reporter noted that lenders—including notable firms such as Deutsche Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and HSBC—owed the city at least $2.2. million in unpaid registration fees.

The Reporter has renewed its partnership with One Economy to teach high school students about investigative journalism and how to blog about their experiences and communities. Students’ submissions are published on “The Teen Reporter,” a blog hosted on the Reporter’s website. Since its return, the blog has featured stories on cyberbullying and dismal graduation and college admission rates from Chicago Public Schools, particularly for black and Latino teens.

The Reporter has added Micah Maidenberg to its team of bloggers. Maidenberg will produce a daily political/legislative blog on “Chicago Muckrakers,” tracking what’s happening in Springfield and covering some key Chicago City Council committees, all with the Reporter’s unique perspective on race and poverty. Maidenberg is an experienced blogger who most recently worked at ProgressIllinois.com. He is also the former editor of the Chicago Journal and Residents’ Journal and is the recipient of the Illinois State Press Association award for feature writing.

In July, the Reporter surpassed 1,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 Twitter followers—doubling its numbers on those social media networks within the past year. If you haven’t already, please “like” the Reporter on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.

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