Thursday, January 8, 2009

Matchmaking Stories and Media

The Community Media Workshop has the best guide in town to Chicago-area outlets: print, online and broadcast. It covers city and suburbs, and news operations from WLS-TV (ABC-7), the most-watched TV station in Chicago, to the North Lawndale Community News. But today I wanted to put it to a really grass-roots test.

Today's mission, which I've accepted: find the local papers that might be interested in stories about Chicago Run, a nonprofit that now works with 19 Chicago Public Schools to get kids involved in running for fun and health. About one-third of them are on the Near North and Northwest Sides. A few more are West Side: Austin and North Lawndale. We've got others in Brighton Park and McKinley Park on the Southwest Side, one in Englewood, one in Bronzeville and even one in Mount Greenwood. (I've left a few out for now because I can't tell immediately what neighborhood you'd say they were in. But don't worry, I'll be coming back to you.)

You can get the guide in book and/or CD database format. Full disclosure: CMW let me take a gander at the database version for free to see if a nontechie like myself could make sense of it. Installing it was easy enough. I've already forgotten what I did, which is a good sign it wasn't hard.

I've been searching geographically by outlet, but have found their geographic areas are too broad for the very local search I want to do. If I hit "Chicago-West" for geography, I'm getting west suburban papers, which is more than I need. Putting a neighborhood word like "Lawndale" in the name search is getting me to the targets: North Lawndale Community News and Lawndale News. It will probably take me some mix of scrolling through big searched by geographic area and target-searching by neighborhood name in publication titles to get what I want, but I'll get there.

If any readers out there are savvier searchers than I, please chime in with tips. And if you don't have the guide but want to know more about it, look here.

Right now I'm just glad the universe of outlets is all in one place. Thanks, CMW!


Gordon Mayer said...

hey Maureen, thanks for posting! For the search, I hear you on the broad part, here are 2 follow up thoughts on getting mroe out of the electronic version -- at least places to go get help:
1. updates, usage tips, bug reports, other feedback all at the online users group, at:

2. we have an upcoming free workshop on using the media guide, I'm embarrassed to say I don't know the date, (I'm still at home) but check on the user group, it's coming up in February--we always have a few such meetings scheduled so check the users group if you need some in person help, too.

Maureen Kelleher said...

Thanks, Gordon. It's good to know there's real-live help out there for working with the database. Overall, it's a great resource, and even a too-broad search result is way better than combing through a paper guide to find what you need.