PI Original Aricka Flowers Thursday November 20th, 2014, 1:06pm

Progress Illinois To Cease Publication At Year's End

Progress Illinois is scheduled to cease operations on December 31, 2014 due to a lack of funding.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that Progress Illinois will be publishing its last article on December 31, 2014 due to a lack of funding.

With the goal of adding a progressive voice to Illinois political news, Progress Illinois launched back in March 2008 thanks to a founding sponsorship from the SEIU Illinois State Council.

Starting out as a small, unknown blog six-and-a-half years ago, Progress Illinois has blossomed into a major player in progressive news, shining a light on a plethora of relevant issues including: the battle to keep the Hartmarx factory open; the Republic Windows & Doors controversy; the offshoring of jobs at Freeport's Sensata Technologies; the Golan's Movers' fight for unionization; the mistreatment of Teamsters' workers at WaterSaver Faucet Co.; the firing of CPS parent and Whole Foods worker Rhiannon Broschat last winter; the push for marriage equality in Illinois; the Fight for $15; the Occupy movement; countless workers' rights and community actions; numerous elections; and the Chicago Teachers Union strike, which marked the start of the progressive community's formal push back against education reform.

Progress Illinois' following has grown immensely over the years both in readership and on social media. Year over year, Progress Illinois has seen a steady increase in traffic, seeing some half a million visitors thus far this year alone, which is a 35 percent increase compared to this time last year. To date, Progress Illinois has over 19,500 Twitter followers, up from almost 4,700 in March of 2013. Our Facebook fans have mushroomed from more than 1,400 in March of 2013 to more than 4,600 today.

PI gets retweeted by lawmakers at all levels, including U.S. Reps. Jan Schakowsky, Bill Foster, Mike Quigley, Sandy Levin and Keith Ellison, State Sen. Mike Frerichs, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, Cook Co. Clerk David Orr, Chicago Alds. Joe Moreno, Danny Solis, Pat Dowell, Scott Waguespack, and Bob Fioretti, the Chicago City Council's Progressive Caucus, Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza, and many, many others. Progress Illinois also gets regular shout outs, retweets and mentions from a bevy of local and national organizations and campaigns, including Obama For America, National People's Action, the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Access Living, the Natural Resources Defense Council, UNITE HERE, Action Now, the Occupy movement, Raise Chicago, the Fight for 15, the Raise Your Hand Coalition, Chicago Teachers Union, Citizen Action Illinois, IIRON, the People's Lobby, AFSCME Council 31 and countless others.

PI has become a trusted progressive news organization over the years, garnering numerous awards and accolades including: a Studs Terkel Award in 2010; distinction as a Best State Political News Blog by Stateside Associates in 2012; named a Double Star news website and ranked as the second top Specialty News website in the "New News 2012" report by the Community Media Workshop, The Chicago Community Trust and MacArthur Foundation; listed as a top-ranked online news site in the Linking Audiences report by Northwestern University and Syndio Social in 2012; and ranked in the top ten (8th) in a listing of the Top Independent Political & News Blogs in Illinois in 2012, among other kudos.

Politicos, activists, community groups, fellow media outlets and blogs have acknowledged the significant voice Progress Illinois has had in offering its audience news that is typically glossed over by or unreported in mainstream media. PI has reported stories that have been later picked up by or cited in several media outlets and blogs including the Huffington Post, Chicagoist, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Radio, the Daily Kos, Think Progress, Bloomberg TV, ABCNews.com, CNN, Reuters, Chicago Magazine and Capitol Fax, to name a few. Progress Illinois has been a springboard for a number of reporters who have gone on to write for news outlets including the Chicago Reporter, Chicago Sun-Times, Crain's, The Nation and In These Times.

Some notable quotes from fans of Progress Illinois include:

  • Recent tweet by Ald. Pat Dowell: @progressIL Great article. Martire is on point. This is a no brainer and the resistance to changing our tax code is mind boggling.
  • "A must-bookmark that combines original reporting with muscular commentary on stories in the local media." - Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune columnist
  • "Extremely well-designed and extremely well-written. Get in the habit of checking it regularly." - Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight.com
  • "If you're serious about Illinois public policy, PI is an essential source" - Harold Pollack, The American Prospect
  • "Every state should have one." - Chris Hayes, The Nation & MSNBC
  • "I just wanted to send a quick note to say that I love this newsletter. It is one of the few mass mailings I allow in my inbox, and it's because every day there are stories that educate and renew my passion for politics and social justice. Please let your staff know how grateful I am for the work that they do, and that it really does make a difference." - Progress Illinois reader feedback

 

With the exit of Progress Illinois, the Chicago online community will be dominated by outlets funded primarily by conservative sources. Barring the financial support of progressive institutions or individuals, PI will cease operations at the end of this calendar year, leaving a gaping hole when it comes to in-depth reporting on progressive issues and coverage of events important to Illinoisans. We hope to get some 11th hour support to keep the site going, so if you would like to see Progress Illinois continue, make some noise and help PI generate the funds needed to continue providing news that is underrepresented in mainstream media and relevant to the progressive community. Thank you for your years of readership and support, and please direct any questions regarding this matter to me, PI editor-in-chief Aricka Flowers, at Aricka@ProgressIllinois.com.

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