Ameya Pawar launches news outlet to unite the Illinois community

A Chicago alderman and former Democratic candidate for governor has announced plans to launch One Illinois, a statewide, nonprofit digital news outlet, in April.

Billed as nonpartisan, the progressive news site clearly will be aimed at countering the conservative Illinois Policy Institute and Breitbart News, among others.

Founder Ameya Pawar, who will serve as president and executive director, said the effort will be funded through a Kickstarter campaign and contributions from readers, philanthropists, agencies and organizations. (Here is the link.)

“We want to build a lasting coalition of neighbors around the issues that unite us,” Pawar said in announcing the startup Wednesday. “We believe journalism and storytelling is the best way to shape a new narrative about Illinoisans reconnecting with one another.”

In an obvious jab at the Illinois Policy Institute’s media enterprises, Pawar said: “There are outlets out there — we know who they are — and we’re out to change their prevailing narrative that casts state politics as a zero-sum game with only winners and losers. We’re going to change the way people perceive communities as deserving and undeserving by putting a human face on public policy and its effects on residents across the state.”

An alderman from Chicago’s North Side since 2011, Pawar dropped out of the gubernatorial race last fall, citing insufficient campaign funding.

Longtime Chicago journalist Ted Cox, a veteran of the Daily Herald, DNAinfo Chicago and the Chicago Reader, will serve as editor of One Illinois. At the outset he’ll oversee a staff of freelance writers, video producers and podcasters.

“Our goal is to build a broad-based audience across party lines, across race and class, and across Illinois to help shape a more positive and unified narrative,” Cox said in a statement. “Our journalism is committed to giving voice to the people. . . . We’re going to let Illinoisans talk to each other and tell their stories through good, solid journalism, and that’s going to have an impact.”

One Illinois is the second Chicago-based digital news startup announced in recent weeks. Three former editors from DNAinfo Chicago also unveiled plans for Block Club Chicago, a new neighborhood news website to be funded by reader subscriptions.

Subscribe to our Newsletter