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

CIMADominguezPhoto2

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)

 

By CHRISTOPHER HEIMERMAN
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.”

CIMADominguezPhoto1

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

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Press Releases

 

 

Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
hires new tourism manager


FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
Aug. 16, 2021
Media Contact: Scott Dahl
217-789-2360, ext. 5531
scott.dahl@springfield.il.us

 

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau announces the hiring of a new Tourism Manager to lead the Springfield Visitors Center and tourism efforts for the City of Springfield.  

Sarah Waggoner will assume the position, held by Jeff Berg who has been with the SCVB for nearly two decades, beginning on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. Sarah brings an extensive résumé of tourism experience, most recently as tourism coordinator for the City of Litchfield. Most notably, she developed and oversaw the Litchfield Pickers Market, including coordination of the market, social media and marketing efforts. Additionally, her responsibilities included budget management, website functions and developing overall marketing strategies for the City of Litchfield tourism effort.
 
As tourism manager for Visit Springfield, Sarah will be tasked with managing the Visitors Center, serving as liaison to state and federal historical sites and institutions as well as all programming and scheduling for the History Comes Alive summer program, in its 13th year in 2022.  

About Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB) is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Springfield, Illinois. As a department of the City of Springfield, the SCVB markets the capital city as a unique convention, meeting and leisure destination in support of our City, our community and our hospitality partners.scott.dahl@springfield.il.us

# # #

For more information, or to schedule an interview with Scott Dahl, please call 217-789-2360, ext. 5531; 217-341-9802 or e-mail scott.dahl@springfield.il.us
 


 

 
 

Warbirds over Greenville, Illinois


FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
Aug. 16, 2021
Craig Baumberger, member, Greenville Pilots Association
618-664-0926
craigbaumberger@yahoo.com


Airstravaganza 2021 will be held at the Greenville Illinois Airport on Oct. 9-10. The main attraction will be a visit by the Mitchell B-25 bomber and the Grumman TBM (torpedo bomber) of the Missouri wing of the Commemorative Air Force based at St Charles, Missouri. These aircraft will be on static display on Saturday, Oct. 9, and will be available for rides on Sunday, Oct. 10. This is a rare opportunity for the general public to purchase a trip aboard the B-25, the bomber that flew from the USS Hornet in 1942 to deliver the first retaliatory blow against the Japanese in World War II. Rides will also be available in the TBM, the largest single-engine military aircraft in World War II and the same type flown by President George H.W. Bush in the Pacific. This is a great opportunity to get a look up close at an important part of our military history.

Rides in the B-25 will cost $395. Five people at a time will ride, with the opportunity to move around the aircraft while in flight and check out the cockpit, bombardiers station, and the cramped quarters in the fuselage. TBM rides will cost $895. There will be a limited number of rides available, so they should be booked in advance. In addition to the warbirds, Waco biplane rides will be available if booked in advance. Cessna and helicopter rides will be available on Saturday, Oct. 9

For info and to reserve a flight, contact Kevin Blaney at 618-520-5362 or kfblaney@gmail.com. Mention "warbirds."

The event is supported by the Greenville Airport Authority and conducted by the Greenville Pilots Association/EAA Chapter 1382. For info or to volunteer, call Craig Baumberger at 618-322-3532 or the Greenville Airport at 618-664-0926. Also, check it out on Facebook or contact gaa@gmail.com. Greenville Airport is located approximately 5 miles south of Greenville on Illinois Route 127 at 1574 Sky Lane, Greenville.

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Dr. Marcus Belin named first black president
of the Illinois Principals Association


FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
June 30, 2021
Alison Maley, government and public relations director
217-299-3122
alison@ilprincipals.org

 

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Principals Association is proud to announce Dr. Marcus Belin, principal of Huntley High School in Huntley as association president for the 2021-2022 school term. Dr. Belin also becomes the first Black president of the Illinois Principals Association.

During Dr. Belin’s term of office, the Illinois Principals Association will celebrate its 50th anniversary, culminating with the organization’s annual conference Oct. 24-26 in Peoria.

“For the past 50 years, the Illinois Principals Association has developed a legacy in the state to support school leaders,” Dr. Belin said. “As we enter a year to celebrate a Legacy of Leaders, I am excited to see the continued focus on furthering the organization's focus on diversity, advocacy, and leadership at the local and national levels. This organization has developed a system of support to develop school leaders and will continue to be an integral part of strengthening the pipeline for school leadership. I am humbled to serve as the president of this organization.”

Dr. Jason Leahy, executive director for the Illinois Principals Association, adds, “Dr. Marcus Belin is an exceptional, student focused school leader. He possesses a contagious passion for creating an organizational environment, both in his school and the IPA, where everyone is provided the support and encouragement they need to thrive. As the IPA celebrates its 50th anniversary and our schools come out of the pandemic, the Association is fortunate to have Dr. Belin at the helm.”

Dr. Belin has most recently been recognized as one of three Digital Principals of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). At Huntley High School, Belin has overseen three years of Huntley’s blended competency-based learning program for in-person and online learning to enable students to master competencies in core subject areas. The school has also used technology to engage students in social-emotional learning lessons in topics such as anxiety and mental health.

Dr. Belin has been a member of the Illinois Principals Association since 2013. During this time, he has served as state legislative chairperson, Kishwaukee Region Membership chair, and Central Illinois Valley Region Membership chair. He began his career in education in 2010 as a fifth- and sixth-grade social studies teacher at Quest Charter Academy Middle School in Peoria and continued at Quest Charter Academy High School as dean of students/assistant principal through 2015. Dr. Belin later served as assistant principal of Dunlap High School in Dunlap and became principal of Huntley High School in 2018.

Dr. Marcus Belin resides in Huntley with his wife, Monique Belin, an elementary instructional coach in Huntley District #158, and their three children, Maliyah, Makenzie, and Mekhi. Dr. Belin received his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and master’s degree in Education Administration from Bradley University, and his Doctoral degree from National Lewis University.

The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization which serves more than 6,000 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois and whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org.
 

# # #


 

 

 
 

 
 

Illinois Principals Association names new executive board and board members


FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
June 30, 2021
Alison Maley, government and public relations director
217-299-3122
alison@ilprincipals.org

 

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Principals Association, which serves more than 6,000 educational leaders throughout Illinois, announces the following school leaders to serve as the executive board for the IPA, effective July 1, 2021.

President – Dr. Marcus Belin, Huntley High School, Huntley

Immediate Past-President – Dr. Amy Dixon, Jefferson & Lincoln Attendance Centers, Carmi

President-Elect – Raúl Gastón, Jefferson Middle School, Villa Park

Treasurer – Craig Beals, Nuttall Middle School, Robinson

Secretary – Mandy Ellis, Dunlap Grade School, Dunlap

Other new board members include:

Marty Adams, principal of Hawthorn Elementary School, Salem, as state director for the Kaskaskia Region.

Dr. Bridget Belcastro, principal at Johnsburg Elementary School, Johnsburg, continues her service on the Board of Directors as Illinois representative for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Dr. Belcastro previously served as state director for the Kishwaukee Region.

Lori Bilbrey, Alternative/Safe Schools and Truancy Program administrator for Regional Office of Education #26, Macomb, as state director for the Western Region.

Michelle Chavers, principal at Limestone Middle School, Kankakee, as state director for the Three Rivers Region. Chavers previously served as region director for the Three Rivers Region.

Courtney DeMent, principal of Downers Grove North High School, Downers Grove, as state director for the DuPage Region. DeMent previously served as region director for the DuPage Region.

Terica Doyle, assistant principal at Carbondale Community High School, Carbondale, joins the Board of Directors as membership chair. Doyle was previously recognized as IPA Shawnee Region Assistant Principal of the Year in 2017.

Sean German, principal at Argenta-Oreana High School, Oreana, continues his service as Illinois coordinator for the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). German previously served as president of the association (2015-2016) and state director for the Abe Lincoln Region.

Heidi Lensing, principal at Eagle Ridge School, Silvis, continues her service on the Board of Directors as legislative chair. Lensing previously served as state director for the Blackhawk Region.

Chris Rice, principal of Meade Park Elementary School, Danville, as state director for the Illini Region.

Arturo Senteno, associate principal of instruction at Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove Village, as representative to the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board (SEPLB).

The Illinois Principals Association is a leadership organization which serves more than 6,000 educational leaders throughout the state of Illinois and whose mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. For more information about the IPA, please visit www.ilprincipals.org.

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Principals from across the nation to gather in Chicago for NAESP's 100th anniversary celebration and Pre-K-8 principals conference

After a year of uncertainty, principals will come together in person
to prepare for post-pandemic leadership
 


MEDIA ADVISORY
June 28, 2021
Kaylen Tucker, NAESP
703-518-6257
ktucker@naesp.org

 

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — Elementary and middle-level principals from across the nation will gather July 8-10 in Chicago for the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) Pre-K–8 Principals Conference. The conference is a significant one in the history of public education — marking 100 years of service for the association and a return to relative normalcy after a year of school closures due to COVID-19. Learn more at www.naespconference.org.

#NAESP21 is the largest national conference for elementary and middle-level principals. With a laser focus on Pre-K through grade 8 school leaders, the conference will address topics aligned to the Professional Standards for Education Leaders, such as equity, engagement, and building professional capacity.

Preconference activities begin July 7 with sessions geared toward assistant principals, early career principals, and veteran principals. Visit the conference website for a full list of sessions. Highlights of this year’s conference will include:

Insight from Education Experts. Some of the brightest minds in education will share fresh thinking and innovative strategies to return to in-person learning this fall. Keynote speakers are Baruti Kafele, a highly regarded urban educator who has distinguished himself as a master teacher and a transformational school leader; Ruby Payne, an educator and author best known for her work on the culture of poverty and its relation to education; and Dan Heath, who is an innovative business thought leader and The New York Times best-selling author.

A Century of NAESP. In 2021, NAESP celebrates 100 years as a member association — and launches into its next century as the largest community for elementary and middle-level principals. On this landmark occasion, we embrace our rich history and generate momentum toward our exciting future. Learn more about NAESP history.

Honoring the Nation’s Best Principals and Assistant Principals. NAESP is pleased to honor the 2020 class of NAESP National Distinguished Principals as well as the 2020 and 2021 classes of National Outstanding Assistant Principals.

The Centers for Advancing Leadership. Learn about the Centers for Diversity Leadership, Innovative Leadership, Women in Leadership, and Middle-Level Leadership through highly energetic sessions led by the center fellows. These sessions will enable conference attendees to expand their principal networks and share innovative ideas they have used to move their leadership and their schools well beyond the status quo.

The conference experience will also feature an Exhibit Hall, which includes industry-leading vendors with innovative services and products for schools.

Conference attendees will share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #NAESP21.

For more information on NAESP’s annual conference, visit www.naespconference.org. Contact Kaylen Tucker (ktucker@naesp.org) for press credentials or interviews.

# # #

Contact:
Principals are the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning. Since 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has been the leading advocate for elementary and middle-level principals in the U.S.and worldwide. NAESP advances the profession by developing policy, advancing advocacy, and providing professional learning and resources for instructional leadership, including specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K–3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and effective educator evaluation. For more information about NAESP, please visit www.naesp.org.


 

 

 
 

 

 

C. Lynn Mason, President and CEO, Broadstep Behavioral Health

 
 

Broadstep acquires Bethesda residential and support programs in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin
 


June 23, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

RALEIGH, North Carolina – Broadstep Behavioral Health, serving individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and severe persistent mental illness (SPMI), acquired Bethesda Lutheran Communities’ residential and support programs in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Broadstep is a portfolio company of Bain Capital’s Double Impact fund.
 
“We are pleased to welcome Bethesda team members and the individuals they serve into the Broadstep family,” said Lynn Mason, Broadstep’s president and CEO. “Together, we look forward to addressing the many challenges facing behavioral health care and continuing to improve the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities – a mission established by Bethesda almost 120 years ago.”
 
Bethesda Lutheran Communities (BLC) provides services and support for those diagnosed with I/DD through community-based homes, day programs, at-home life skills development, job placement, and behavioral support. By acquiring BLC homes in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, Broadstep continues its expansion of residential services in the Midwest, following on the heels of the acquisition of Good Hope Manor in Wisconsin in December.
 
The Case for Inclusion, released annually by the Ancor Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy, reveals a waiting list for housing and services of more than 26,000 people in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin ­– and more than 470,000 people nationwide. Rising costs, low medical reimbursements, reduced revenue from other sources, and the COVID-19 pandemic have adversely impacted programs for individuals with I/DD.
 
According to a report by the KUNI Foundation published by Spectrum Life Magazine, “People with intellectual and developmental disabilities face a housing crisis.” Supply is not meeting demand in the United States.
 
“There are so many individuals that need help,” said Mason, named president and CEO of Broadstep in 2019. “Behavioral health is still a segment of the population that is largely forgotten. That’s not where they should be. Individuals with low IQs are not only challenged with their learning disability, many also struggle with behavioral health disorders that have never been addressed. At Broadstep, I believe we can build the right continuum of care and align with great community partners, health systems, and payers to help address these needs.”
 
According to Dr. Scott Huntington, Ph.D., Broadstep’s chief clinical officer and former corrections system psychologist, undiagnosed and untreated behavioral health disabilities weigh heavily on the judicial system, with many individuals in prison. “Putting their quality of life in jail aside for a moment, the cost to keep and treat individuals in prison is three times the amount of those not incarcerated. This person, this child, this adult, is struggling, and we believe we have the opportunity within this health care system and with our partners to tackle these challenges. We want to make sure they can live a good quality, productive life and be an additive back to their communities.”
 
When access to care is provided to this population, the positive impact is undeniable. According to a recent study by the American Journal on Public Health, Americans living with disabilities with no home support system receive less preventive care, have a higher incidence of chronic conditions, and visit the hospital and emergency department more often — leading to much higher health care spending than for the average adult.
 
About Broadstep Behavioral Health
Founded in Wisconsin in 1972, Broadstep Behavioral Health provides a continuum of physical, emotional, and mental support for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. Broadstep offers a range of support programs, including residential group homes, specialized schools for children, and vocational and day programs that help foster life skills development and realize social and professional potential. Broadstep Behavioral Health operates in seven states (Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin).  Visit www.broadstep.com to learn more.
 
About Bain Capital Double Impact (BCDI)
Bain Capital Double Impact is the impact investing strategy of Bain Capital, a leading global private investment firm. Applying Bain Capital’s value-added approach to impact investing, BCDI partners with companies to scale their growth and impact to solve critical social problems alongside a financial return. BCDI’s areas of focus are health and wellness, sustainability, and education and workforce development. BCDI was named 2020’s Global Impact Investment Fund of the Year by London-based Private Equity International.
Visit www.BainCapitalDoubleImpact.com to learn more.

# # #

Contact:
John Tote, VP of Business Development
Broadstep Behavioral Health
jtote@broadstep.com
919-219-3944
 
Permission granted for redistribution
 
#Broadstep #Bethesda #BainCapital #NorthCarolina #Wisconsin #Illinois #Indiana #SouthCarolina #NewJersey #Nebraska #Boston #IntellectualDevelopmentalDisabilities #IDD #Autism #MentalIllness #LynnMason #DoubleImpactFund #JohnTote #ImpactFund
 
Robert Butler – Communications & Public Relations ­– www.RBButler.com

 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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