BGA Joins Six Other Chicago Newsrooms to Examine Mayor Lightfoot’s First Year

The new “Lens on Lightfoot” series will pool the resources of multiple newsrooms across the city to evaluate the mayor’s administration.

As Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot marks her first six months in office, a collaboration of seven local news organizations is launching a series of articles examining the Lightfoot administration’s progress toward its stated goals.

The participating newsrooms in the “Lens on Lightfoot” series are the Better Government Association, Block Club Chicago, Chalkbeat Chicago, The Chicago Reporter (all members of the Institute for Nonprofit News), as well as The Daily Line, La Raza and The TRiiBE. The project is organized by INN, an organization of 240 nonprofit news organizations around the country dedicated to public service and investigative reporting. The Chicago collaborative reunites many of the partners responsible for Chi.vote, which reported extensively on the mayoral election. 

Each participating newsroom will bring its own editorial focus to the project. Together they will provide ongoing and comprehensive reporting on the administration of the city’s first African American female mayor.

The collaboration was made possible by a new grant from the McCormick Foundation, as well as support for INN. The individual newsrooms are also committing substantial resources of their own for the project. 

The first story in the Lens on Lightfoot series, published today by The Daily Line, looks at the ramifications of Lightfoot’s elimination of “aldermanic prerogative,” a mostly unwritten Chicago policy that gave aldermen great sway in how matters are determined in their wards. The BGA will be publishing its first story as part of this partnership in the coming weeks.

BGA President and CEO David Greising said, “Partnerships like this are key to holding public officials accountable and keeping the public informed.”

Among the topics expected to be covered in the series will be affordable housing, TIF reform, the environment, adherence to the Freedom of Information Act, the proposed new police academy, an elected school board and the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund. Stories will be available on the individual publications’ websites and collected on a project site hosted on INN.org.