Gazette name change reflects commitment to local and city-wide issues
May 6, 2017

Mark J. Valentino

Our masthead reflects a change in our name this issue to Gazette Chicago. This marks only the fourth name change in the history of the newspaper. So, why do it? Why now?

This month, Gazette Chicago begins its 35th year of publishing. However, the name change isn’t being unveiled just because of our anniversary date. Proudly, and without fanfare, we have been steadfast in our commitment to the ten contiguous communities we serve. We also have expanded our news coverage in recent years to address a variety of issues that affect all of Chicago. You don’t have to look any further than the “bottom of the fold” stories that appear each month on page one. The top two stories are devoted to local news, while the third story on our cover allows us to look at issues with a wider lens.

Examples of these stories include coverage of the Keeping the Promise ordinance to help reduce homelessness throughout Chicago; the Illinois General Assembly’s effort to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of the automatic voter registration bill; and the options available to Chicago to rise up in the era of the Trump presidency.

Gazette Chicago has never shied away from the issues of the day. We have covered issues related to fair housing, gentrification, education, and the debate over the equitable and transparent use of TIF funds. We have covered both the successes and challenges facing our local schools, churches, and community groups. We have scrutinized our elected officials and have challenged them to act independently. And, we haven’t shied away from being critical of whoever is Mayor or Governor. Unlike the major dailies in town, we have carried the responsibility of consistently making endorsements of the best candidates to represent our communities in every race, in every election.

Today, Gazette Chicago needs to play an expanded role as one of the few remaining independent newspapers in the region. Chicago has never faced a longer list of serious challenges: from the daily loss of lives related to violence in our communities, to the inability of the City and State to provide needed resources for education, health care, and social services, to the struggles of the working poor whose wages are far below the $15 per hour called for as an increased minimum wage, to the escalating cost of living in this city, to the lost confidence of our residents in many of their elected officials, whom they believe are not governing on behalf of their basic needs.

As if that weren’t enough to deal with, we now have the daily onslaught on our rights and freedoms heaped upon us by the Trump administration. I never would have dreamed in a million years, as a 24-year-old young man launching this newspaper in May 1983, that I would someday have to assign stories that address the far-reaching impact of a presidency that so deeply lacks an understanding of its duties, is erratic and boorish in its behavior, and has a complete apathy for those who need government to act on their behalf.

Gazette Chicago, in its many iterations, has been there for you all these years, and we pledge to remain committed to fair and balanced news coverage. As dubious news outlets and social media push fake news out on a regular basis, there is an increasing need for news that is both accurate and substantiated with sources who are experts in a given area. We pledge to continue
to provide news coverage with integrity. And, we will continue to tell it like it is on our editorial page—never having to be beholden to a corporate parent.

Our name change doesn’t mean that we no longer care about the ten communities listed on our front page. If anything, the name change should make you feel confident that we understand our importance both in our community and within the greater Chicago area. Work with us. We cannot do this alone.

We encourage you to join us in this effort. Whether you have read us for 34 years or for the past few months, if you value what we do, then stand beside us. We need you to take a key role in the long-term success and viability of Gazette Chicago. You can do so in a number of ways:

• Tell our loyal advertisers that you appreciate the support they give Gazette Chicago each month. As a free publication, we depend on the partnerships we have with our advertisers to bring you the news that you value. Not only do we need you to spend your hardearned dollars with our advertisers, we need you to let them know that you personally appreciate the role they play in supporting us each month.

• Look to those who advertise with us. The next time you have some extra income or go out for lunch or dinner—visit one of the great restaurants or specialty shops found in our news pages. When you need health care for you and your family—turn to the institutions that partner with Gazette Chicago. When you need to get a quote for auto or life insurance or to sell or buy a home—reach out to those specialists found on our pages each month.

• Encourage others to advertise in our publication. Take Gazette Chicago with you into other local shops and businesses and ask them to support their community newspaper by placing ads with us. Let them know that Gazette Chicago is fighting on your behalf and theirs each and every month by arguing for safer communities, better schools and housing, more fair laws and policies, and elected officials who govern with the needs of residents and businesses in mind. We could do much more if we could increase our page counts, have more resources for investigative reporting, and expand our web presence.

• Stress to our local business owners that they have a civic responsibility to support their local press. You have the power to do that. Help them understand their role.

• Get involved. Rise up, stand up, engage in the political process and stay engaged. Put pressure on local, state, and national politicians. Provide financial support and/or volunteer for progressive candidates who are willing to make change happen and will truly work for your best interests. Mark the dates for the State of Illinois Governor’s race in 2018, the national mid-term elections that same year, and the race for the next Mayor of Chicago in 2019. Don’t let multi-million dollar advertising campaigns and slick radio and television commercials sway your decision-making. Do your homework on the candidates. Vote—in every election—and make sure everyone in your family and your circle of friends does the same.

Thank you for 34 great years. Here’s to many more. And, here’s to working together to make our community, city, state, nation, and world a better and more harmonious place. We at Gazette Chicago want to be there with you every step of the way to make this a reality.

Mark J. Valentino
Editor and Publisher