Uncovering the Untold Stories: How to Do Better Journalism in Chicago

About this product

To help journalists think differently about where they’re finding stories and how to encourage authentic story sharing.


SKU: MCCMK02-18 Category:


This program is limited to journalists whose work primarily focuses on the Chicago area.

Poynter — with support from the McCormick Foundation — is presenting a day-long workshop to help journalists think differently about where they’re finding their stories and how they’re approaching citizens in ways that encourage authentic sharing.

Finding stories that resonate with your audience can be a challenge, especially in a city with as many possible sources as Chicago. In this workshop, you will learn about how the city’s very geography results in lost income, lost potential and even lost lives. You will see what can happen when you get out of your comfort zone and listen to residents where they live. And you will gain the tools to do better with less: less time, less staff, less money.

We will also focus on improving the foundation of powerful storytelling: You’ll develop the skills to build trust from sources by learning from experts in empathetic reporting.


Tuition for this one-day workshop is $25. Some scholarships are available.

What Will I Learn?

  • Examine neighborhood data and assess the socio-economic challenges in each microcosm
  • Think critically about how to reach out to new sources
  • Take home actionable ways to produce better coverage even as newsroom resources shrink
  • Be a more empathetic journalist
  • Build trust with diverse sources

Who Should Attend?

This program is limited to journalists whose work primarily focuses on the Chicago area.

Journalists who want to deepen their understanding of Chicago’s diverse geography and communities. Journalists who are in newsrooms with shrinking resources. Journalists who seek to become more empathetic in working with sources.

The process to apply is straightforward and simple. No letter of recommendation or reference is required. Please be prepared to answer questions about your professional experience, areas of interests and basic demographic information.


Subject to change. Updated Oct. 18, 2018.

9-9:15 a.m. — Welcome Remarks

9:15-10:30 a.m. — The Cost of Segregation: A Conversation With the Metropolitan Planning Council

10:30-10:45 a.m. — Break

10:45 a.m.-12 p.m.  — “Folded Map”: Meeting Chicagoans Where They Live

Noon-1 p.m. — Lunch (included in tuition)

1-1:45 p.m. — Doing Better With Less: Find Partnerships and Grants — and Figure Out What to Stop Doing

1:45-2 — Break

2-4:30 p.m. — Reporting With Empathy: Best Practices and Interactive Exercises

4:30-5 p.m. — Recap of the Day

5 p.m. — Farewells


Erin Ailworth

Reporter, Chicago Bureau
Wall Street Journal


Kristen Hare

The Poynter Institute

Tonika Johnson

Visual Artist and Photographer
R.A.G.E. (Resident Association of Greater Englewood)

Sam Levin

Staff Reporter
The Guardian U.S.

Marisa Novara

Vice President
Metropolitan Planning Council


Doris Truong

Director of Training and Diversity
The Poynter Institute


We’d love to hear from you. Email us at seminars@poynter.org.