Wilmette, News

Your local news is back. Let’s keep it that way

Hello. Allow us to re-introduce ourselves.

We are The Record, a new nonprofit local-news site dedicated to the North Shore. But also, you’ve seen us before. The Record was founded by Martin Carlino, Megan Bernard and me, Joe Coughlin, all former newsroom leaders at 22nd Century Media (The Wilmette Beacon, The Winnetka Current and five other publications.

We have covered the North Shore with passion and hustle for the last decade. So when our former company closed in March, we thought, “We cannot stop now.”

How could we? We were in the midst of a global pandemic. There was growing civil unrest. It was an election year. Misinformation was spreading. You deserved credible news and information, so we set out to restore it for you.

And six months later, here we are — and with a new and innovative format. The Record is a nonprofit digital newsroom built on integrity, courage and care. The platform change allows us to better serve your community, and we are going to do this the right way, placing reporters on the ground to cover your hometown every single day, not just when a big story breaks.

We believe local news in the suburbs of Chicago has been destroyed over the past 20 years. As media outlets felt the pressure to survive, they stripped resources away from suburban news coverage and placed more value on collecting dollars or clicks than providing reliable news coverage.

We’re out to correct that. As a nonprofit, sponsored by the Institute for Nonprofit News, we can’t make a profit. Instead, every dollar that comes our way goes right into quality, responsible community journalism.

One aspect of responsible and careful coverage is consistency. It means we will not stretch beyond our means. To start, we will be covering the communities in New Trier Township. With our current staff, it would be inappropriate to cover more territory. It would be irresponsible.

I hope you take time to review this site, not only to catch up on the latest news affecting your community, but also to notice our transparency and integrity statements that will allow you and our board of directors to hold us accountable.

There is one more reason we are a nonprofit. We believe it is a platform that enables sustainability. We will be raising funds in a variety of ways, including through donations, foundational grants, fundraising events, community partnerships and subscriptions to this site.

While donations via a successful Kickstarter campaign got us off the ground, our events and subscriptions will keep us in the air. Much of our site’s content (public-service journalism like breaking news, police reports, public-safety news and more) will be free to read, but our other work will be for subscribers who value dedicated local reporting.

We must do this together. We ask that if you want local news around that you support it financially. And we know that we must give you the opportunity and reasons to support this work. We will do that with an easy-to-use platform and community journalism you will not find anywhere else.

For a decade, we have made a real impact in your community by delivering reliable and responsible local news. We are ready to do it again. This is happening. We will not let you down.

Please consider subscribing or donating today to support nonprofit, nonpartisan coverage of your government, schools, businesses, sports and neighbors.

Let’s do this.

joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

Related Stories