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January Spring


The Constant Media Gardener: Fast-rising coordinator ripping out roots of journalism issues


Yazmin Dominguez checks out a copy of the Chicago Reader newspaper at the publication's office in Chicago. Dominguez, 24, is project coordinator for the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, a coalition formed to help the independent local news organizations. (Photo supplied)


For Illinois Press Association

CHICAGO – Yazmin Dominguez is digging up weeds.

The 24-year-old media partnerships coordinator at the Chicago Reader recently took on the role of projects coordinator for the Chicago Independent Media Alliance, which is facilitated by The Reader and recently raised more than $160,000 for 43 of its 62 members.

The influx of funds will help offset massive losses in advertising revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but Dominguez is going after deeper-rooted issues with journalism and media.

“We as young journalists are passionate about dismantling all the wrongs in the media,” Dominguez said. “I’ll say that for all young journalists. We’re aware of the issues, and we’re going to fix them.”

Dominguez said that for as long as she can remember, she’s been aware of the struggles of journalists – particularly those in marginalized communities, which make up much of the alliance members’ readerships.

“As a young journalist, I think we grew up in an era, starting in 2001, when things started falling apart,” she said. “The media industry is no exception of that. I am a child of immigrants. Going into journalism with that background, you see the industry differently. You see the power of words and the power of publishing.”

As a teenager, Dominguez would leave Huntley High School every day to make it on time for newsroom meetings at The Mash, Chicago Tribune’s teen newspaper. While attending DePaul University, she was a reporting fellow for City Bureau and worked as an intern for Chicago Tonight, where she was hired part-time to work on an aldermanic project – which involved bringing aldermen into the WTTW studio and working on production and online.

It was around that time she heard The Mash had closed.

“Being in Chicago, which has a very lively and active media scene, watching these newsrooms shut down was what made me realize the system is broken,” she said. “[The Mash] was one of the first things to go from the Tribune. That hit me a little different, because that’s where I started as a young reporter.”

As Dominguez begins to unearth the weeds of the industry, she’s going for the roots. She said she’s angry, and that most young journalists are. But that anger can be turned into results.

“We need to fix the roots of the issues to have success down the line,” she said.

During a recent phone interview, she had an unprompted list of issues at the ready – beyond the oft-cited rise of armchair digital journalism and the crash of advertising revenue industrywide.


Little insurance

CIMA recently polled its members on various topics. Of the 48 outlets that responded, 56 percent are unable to offer insurance to their full-time staff. Of 49 respondents, about 86 percent can’t offer insurance to part-timers and freelancers.

That’s not acceptable for a line of work where journalists regularly put themselves in harm’s way in order to inform their readers on how to stay safe.

“That’s really not OK,” Dominguez said. “Them not being able to have insurance or be employed full-time. Some media companies can’t even afford a physical building.”

About one-third of 50 respondents said they don’t have a physical office.


Lack of funding

Dominguez said with help on the local, state and federal levels, media outlets would be able to hire more full-time staff and rely less on part-timers and freelancers.

“There just needs to be more funding in the industry,” she said. “The City of Chicago needs to work more with local media.”

Every day, she looks at the CTA ads promoting events, the CTA itself, the U.S. Census, and she wonders, “What if?”

“Why not do an ad buy with a bunch of local media outlets?” she said. “Certain bodies of government haven’t utilized the sort of potential the media has. I think that speaks to the disconnect between the city and its local communities.”

She said there’s strength in numbers, particularly if you bring together dozens of like-minded outlets that are hungry for change and willing to get elected officials’ attention.

“That’s the mindset the alliance has, and it was created in that mindset,” she said.


Racial coverage

Mistreatment of the Muslim community after 9/11 wasn’t reserved for run-of-the-mill American citizens. Dominguez said racism abounded in media coverage after the Twin Towers fell.

“Coverage of Katrina also painted the local community in a … not-so-good light,” she said. “Moments like that, young people notice and become disenfranchised. If you’re a young person in the media, you’re passionate for it. Moments like that affect your psyche as a young journalist.”

Dominguez decried editors’ practice of carefully selecting which pictures to publish – which ones capture the demographic they’re after and, in turn, generate the most clicks.

She said she’s optimistic that an influx of young journalists can stem the tide of tired, often misguided thinking.

“People who have been in legacy newsrooms are a bit old-school,” she said. “They’ve been in their position for decades. It can hurt the organization you’re trying to help, and more importantly the community you’re trying to serve. There’s a young crowd of journalists that are hungry and angry, and ready to change how reporting on their communities is done.”


Strokes too broad

The larger the media outlet, the harder it is to cover communities that are directly affected, Dominguez said.

“It’s the role of local media to fill the information gaps that larger media outlets can’t,” Dominguez said. “It’s glaringly obvious that communities of color are so affected compared to white, wealthy communities.”

Jesus Del Toro, director general of La Raza Newspaper, said the funds raised by CIMA point to an opportunity aching to be seized.

“Those who donated money, it’s an expression of the support of the community,” he said.

His readership still picks up the physical paper and relies on what’s inside of it.

“The Latinx community in Chicago still relies heavily on the print publication,” he said.

Dominguez is heartened to have a new member of the alliance that will also serve a marginalized community. The Cicero Independiente, fiscally supported by City Bureau, was created about a year ago by three young Latinx people, and it joined the alliance 2 months ago. Dominguez said Cicero has gotten a bad rap because of coverage that too often focuses on violence and crime, rather than the rich Hispanic heritage of the community.


One problem solved

Del Toro said local media collaboration has been attempted in Chicago, and has failed.

CIMA is different, he said.

“For the first time in this collaboration of media, we were fortunate to have one specific person doing the coordination of this effort,” he said of Dominguez. “Each of us, all the media and members of this group, have a lot of different interests and content, and problems, and level of resources. One big obstacle through collaboration is coordination. She was a big part of this success. What she provided was the glue we need to have in order to move, and to grow.”

Charlie Meyerson, who’s worked in the Chicago market for more than 40 years, whether in radio, print, or his recently launched independent news site, Chicago Public Square, signed on with CIMA and was blown away by the 24-year-old who accepted nitpicking with a smile.

“People who have worked with me over the decades have learned that I’m the squeaky wheel – this needs to be fixed, or that needs to be reworded,” he said. “She took it all in stride.”

Dominguez said the feedback was invaluable.

“It’s definitely a good problem to have, that we’ve found out people aren’t shy about offering us feedback,” she said. “That external suggestion box has been very helpful.”

Meyerson said a lot of organizations will ask for feedback, then bristle at constructive criticism.

“I can’t remember once being told to tone it down,” he said. “They accepted feedback and acted on it. When they didn’t have the resources to do something, they were forthright.”

This all comes as little surprise for Tracy Baim, longtime Chicago media touchstone and owner of the nearly half-century-old Reader. She saw star power in Dominguez when she interviewed her about a year ago – when the ink had barely dried on the journalism degree Dominguez earned at DePaul.

“She really hit the ground running,” Baim said. “She has a fantastic personality, she’s hard-working and knows the need for journalism. It’s rare to have someone with all her qualities.

“She understands our job here is to save jobs of journalists.”


Yazmin Dominguez works from the Chicago Reader office. (Photo supplied)

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Contact Information:
Joe Bella
(574) 276-1547 

J-Ad Graphics Newspaper Publishing sold to JAMS Media, LLC. and its View Newspaper Group of Lapeer, Michigan


The Jacobs Family has sold its J-Ad Graphics publishing business to JAMS Media, LLC and its View Newspaper Group of Lapeer, Michigan, according to Joe Bella, independent broker with BVC LLC. Joe Bella represented the Jacobs family in the transaction.

Legal details of the transaction were finalized on May 10. Financial specifics have not been made public.  

Weekly production of the Hastings Banner, The Reminder, and J-Ad’s newspapers in Battle Creek, Marshall, and Lowell will continue under the View Newspaper Group name. Based in Lapeer, Michigan, the View Newspaper Group operates primarily on the east side of the state with 14 free circulation and paid subscription community newspapers covering 10 Michigan counties. It prints more than 250,000 copies on both a weekly and daily basis.

According to J-Ad Graphics CEO Fred Jacobs, most employees will be retained though changes are likely in production and delivery operations.

“I realized keeping the business going was becoming more difficult due to rising costs, machine maintenance, and declining advertising dollars,” says Jacobs. “I felt an obligation to do what was necessary to keep our papers going even if it meant selling them to an outside firm."

The purchase of J-Ad Graphics fits the template of the View Newspaper Group, whose exponential growth began in 2003 with the launch of the Lapeer Area View by company President and founder Rick Burrough.

“The Jacobs family has been great stewards of the J-Ad group of newspapers,” states Burrough. “When the family decided it was time for them to sell their papers, they sought us out knowing of our success in the community newspaper business and our reputation for treating stakeholders – readers, advertisers, vendors, and employees – with fairness and respect.”

The Jacobs family was represented by Joe Bella, an affiliate of Business Valuation Consulting LLC. Contact Joe@bellco-llc.com, 1-574-276-1547.




Contact Information:
Rocco D. Biscaglio
(708) 935-8218

Leyden Township Health Fair delivers needed health and wellness services to the community

LEYDEN TOWNSHIP, COOK COUNTY, Illinois - On Saturday, May 18, Leyden Township welcomes all residents to Leyden Township’s second Community Health Fair; making this an annual event after a successful first year. This health fair is designed to integrate health and wellness into the community by connecting residents to all services necessary for optimal health and well-being.

Components of health that will be represented during the fair will be by community partners who offer primary health care and mental health services. Also included are job opportunities, healthy food and clean water options, physical fitness, and safety skills and training. The event is structured to foster connection and awareness between residents and providers of health and wellness service providers in the community.

The Leyden Township Community Health Fair will be held at the Bradley A. Stephens Community Center, 2620 North Mannheim Road, Franklin Park, Illinois, on Saturday, May 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. This will be a free event that is open to the public. The Secretary of State will also be onsite during the health fair, offering Mobile DMV Services to residents with an appointment. Residents can secure reservations ahead of time by calling (847) 455-8616.  

Some of what The Leyden Township Community Health Fair will offer: 

  • Redetermination Information (maintaining health benefits)
  • Vehicle Registration and Driver's License Renewal
  • Various health screenings 
  • HIV testing
  • Healthy Snack options
  • Financial health literacy 
  • Nutrition counseling and access to emergency meals and more!

“My vision as township supervisor is to create a thriving community for all township residents. I found it prudent to prioritize our community’s health and wellness needs and to find community partners with a shared vision and proven track record of delivering positive health outcomes,” said Rocco D. Biscaglio, Leyden Township supervisor.

Founded in 1850, approximately 15 miles from downtown Chicago, Leyden Township is now home to a population of over 90,000 residents. Leyden Township includes the Villages of Elmwood Park, River Grove, Franklin Park, Schiller Park, portions of the Villages of Bensenville, Rosemont, Melrose Park, Norridge, and the Cities of Northlake and Park Ridge. Also included in Leyden Township is a large unincorporated area. The unincorporated area utilizes the Melrose Park Postal Service and uses the Northlake zip code of 60164. The Leyden Fire Protection District and the Cook County Sheriff's Police protect the unincorporated area.






Contact Information:
Alison Maley, government & public relations director
(217) 525-1383

Ready to lead: Illinois School Leader Pipeline participants gear up for hiring season

Springfield, IL – The Illinois Principals Association (IPA) is pleased to announce the first cohort of the Illinois School Leader Pipeline Program (ISLPP). This program aims to identify, develop, support, and sustain diverse aspiring school leaders in preparation for leadership roles. Managed by IPA, the Illinois Council of Professors of Educational Administration (ICPEA), and the Black Educational Advocacy Coalition (BEAC), ISLPP is supported by a grant from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
ISLPP partnered with principal preparation programs known for producing high-quality school leaders to target eligible candidates to build a diverse and skilled pool of future principals. Participants receive tuition support, mentorship from experienced leaders, and financial assistance for substitutes and professional development. Participants also have access to IPA membership, connecting them to Illinois' largest network of school leaders.
Martha Fuentes, ISLPP participant attending Roosevelt University, shared, “I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to go back to school with the aim of becoming an administrator. I am a firm believer that our students, especially students of color, need to see themselves in those that serve them. Having the support from the IPA has been instrumental in my leadership journey. Having a mentor has been such an inspiration, listening to those who were once in my shoes and who have become successful leaders is one of the highlights of the program. I have met so many leaders from all over Illinois who are willing to support me when the time comes for me to become a leader. None of this would have been possible without the SLPP program. Thank you for believing in me and the other 99 aspiring leaders!”
Shaunwell Posely, ISLPP participant attending Governors State University, shared, “My experience with IPA has been truly remarkable. The program has provided me with immense help and support throughout my journey. From the moment I joined, I have been impressed by the commitment and dedication of the IPA team. They have gone above and beyond to ensure that I have the resources and guidance necessary to succeed in my pursuit of becoming a school principal. The program has equipped me with valuable skills, knowledge, and networks that will undoubtedly shape my future career. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the program, and I highly recommend it to anyone aspiring to make a difference in education leadership.”
Kerri Young, ISLPP participant attending McKendree University, shared, “I have always wanted to pursue a degree in school leadership, but the timing was never right, and the additional funds were never available in my budget. This program took the funding issue away, and it was the perfect opportunity to seek an additional degree. The program is one of the best ways to address the current shortages of school leaders our state is facing. By removing the financial barriers and adding additional support to the students in the program, you are making the goal attainable for many teachers.”  
Many participants of the School Leader Pipeline Program have graduated from their programs, or will be graduating soon, and are now seeking administrative positions. To view details about these candidates, including the level of administrative position they are seeking, visit https://www.ilprincipals.org/recruitment_candidates/.
Illinois School Leader Pipeline Program participants include:
Laura Arias, University of St. Francis
Justin Barrington, McKendree University
Leslie Bell, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Damon Belt, Eastern Illinois University
Charlise Berkel, Northeastern Illinois University
Andre Bouey, North Central College
Justin Bozarth, Eastern Illinois University
Tomas Brandt, Governors State University
Summer Butler, Roosevelt University
Lawrence Bynum, DePaul University
Starr Caldwell, North Park University Chicago
Breana Calloway, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Sarah Castaneda, Governors State University
Rosalba (Rosie) Conde, Aurora University
Heather Crain, McKendree University
Maribel Diaz, Concordia University
Kayla Elam, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Brock Friese, Eastern Illinois University
Martha Fuentes, Roosevelt University
Ernesto Garza, North Park University
Lisa Green, Governors State University
Tami Harwood, Eastern Illinois University
Samantha Helland, Lewis University
Beth Horn, McKendree University
Jamie Howard Breeden, Governors State University
Robin Hughes, McKendree University
Janet Hurtado, Aurora University
Oraia Jaramillo, Governors State University
Catherine Johnson, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Carla Jones, Loyola University
Sarah Jordan, Governors State University
Timothy Kolaczkowski, North Central College
Colleen Kunz, McKendree University
David Lerch, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Lyndsey Littlejohn, Eastern Illinois University
Yvonne Luckey, Condordia University
Brenlin Maple, Governors State University
Dionicia Martinez, Governors State University
Laura-Elizabeth McCabe, Condordia University
Ginny McClure, Governors State University
Amber Medina, Governors State University
Heather Miller, McKendree University
Missy Montgomery, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Maritza Mota, Governors State University
Dustin Murray, Western Illinois University
Joseph Oberts, Northeastern Illinois University
Jasmine Ogunleye, Concordia University
Erica Parks, Concordia University
Megan Perschbacher, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Tessa Pietrantoni, McKendree University
Shaunwell Posely, Governors State University
Katie Prather, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Saddaf Raheel, Northeastern Illinois University
Luz Rangel Raymond, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Katelyn Richert, McKendree University
Silvia Rios, Northeastern Illinois University
Stephanie Roberson, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
KimIona Robinson, National Lewis University
Tarah Rottmann, McKendree University
Keva Rush, Rockford University
Sara Schneeberg, Loyola University
MiKala Thompkins, National Louis University
Amie Thompson, Concordia University
Ewa Torres, National Lewis University
Nicole Trovillion, McKendree University
Sharon Turner-Wingba, Governors State University
Esmeralda Velasco, Chicago State University
Sonia Villarreal-Orson, Concordia University
Benay Walker, McKendree University
Janna Walson, Northeastern Illinois University
Alex Washam, McKendree University
Casey Welscher, University of Illinois at Springfield
Ericka Weston, McKendree University
Christine Wolinski, Lewis University
Hui-Chun Wu-Szillage, National Lewis University
Rachel Yaw, McKendree University
Kerri Young, McKendree University
Shannon Zarobsky, University of St. Francis
The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization serving educational leaders throughout Illinois whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org.






Contact Information:
Andrew Keith
(312) 248-3208

'Morgenthau' author Andrew Meier to speak at Union League event April 25

CHICAGO — 221B Partners is proud to announce an evening with journalist and author Andrew Meier, to be held April 25, 2024, at the Union League. 

The evening, moderated by Bethany McLean, will include a discussion with Meier on current events in the U.S. and Russia as well as his most recent work, "Morgenthau: Power, Privilege and the Rise of an American Dynasty" (Random House, 2022), a portrait of a German-Jewish immigrant family whose members played key diplomatic and legal roles that helped shape 20th Century America. Henry Morgenthau Sr. made his mark as a real estate mogul who served as U.S. ambassador to the Ottoman Empire during World War I. His son, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., served as FDR’s secretary of the Treasury during the New Deal. And his son, Robert Morgenthau, was the longest-serving district attorney in New York City’s history, overseeing many of the city’s best-known cases. 

Meier’s previous works include the award-winning "Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall" and "The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service." He previously served as a correspondent for Time magazine based in Moscow and also has contributed to New York Times Magazine. His work has been recognized with fellowships from the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library and the Leon Levy Center for Biography, as well as from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

McLean is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and co-author of "The Smartest Guys in the Room," about the rise and fall of Enron.  

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a conversation with Meier at 6 p.m.; it will be held at the Union League, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Illinois. This event is invite-only. For inquiries about attending, contact 221B Partners at info@221bpartners.com.

About 221B Partners
221B Partners, founded in 2020, is a boutique private investigations firm headquartered in Chicago’s North Side. The firm’s team of experienced professionals assists clients nationwide in a wide variety of case types, including pre-transaction due diligence, litigation support, threat management, internal and external fraud, and background checks. 221B Partners can be reached at 312-806-6257, or at info@221bpartners.com.





Contact Information:
Jann Ingmire
(312) 520-9802

Lake County physician sworn in as president of Illinois State Medical Society

CHICAGO – Piyush I. Vyas, M.D., was sworn in as president of the Illinois State Medical Society (ISMS) during its recent annual meeting. He was previously elected president-elect in 2023.

Dr. Vyas received his medical degree from MS University of Baroda in Baroda, India, and completed his radiology residency at Cook County Hospital. 

Dr. Vyas is board-certified in diagnostic radiology. Since 2004, he has been an attending physician at Lovell Federal Health Care Center, where he served as chief of radiology and nuclear medicine until 2018. Since 2018, he has been the associate director, Clinical Support Services. He was also assistant professor of radiology with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science from 2005 to 2016 and served as vice chairman of radiology from 2012 to 2016. Currently he is an associate professor of radiology at Rosalind Franklin and actively involved in teaching medical students. He is also a valued member of the admissions committee at the university. 

He has been an ISMS member for 40 years and has served for many years as an ISMS alternate delegate and delegate to the AMA, as well as a past trustee and chair of the ISMS Governmental Affairs Council. Dr. Vyas served as president of the Lake County Medical Society for two separate terms and served on multiple committees, at the county and state level. He is also a past president of the Indian American Medical Association.

Dr. Vyas’ term as ISMS president will run through April 2025. 

Founded in 1840, ISMS is a professional membership association representing Illinois physicians in all medical specialties, and their patients, statewide.  






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