City Bureau is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic journalism lab based in Woodlawn. We bring journalists and communities together in a collaborative spirit to produce media that is impactful, equitable and responsive to the public. Through our partnership with Austin Weekly News, in which editor Michael Romain joined City Bureau’s Civic Reporting Fellowship along with reporters Aaron Allen and Annie Nguyen, we produced this special issue.
More than 30 Austin residents were interviewed in order to determine the six issues most important to the neighborhood. Residents were chosen to approximate the demographics of Austin’s population, across race, age, education, employment and ZIP code. Residents were asked generally about their greatest concerns for the neighborhood, in addition to a few issue-specific questions.
Reporters reached out to all eligible candidates multiple times through various means over the course of two weeks in order to schedule an interview. Mayoral candidates that lead recent polls were included, in addition to the two West Side candidates. Of the mayoral candidates, Willie Wilson and Amara Enyia did not respond in time—nor did Emma Mitts, the incumbent of the 37th Ward. When possible, reporters compiled quotes and stances expressed publicly elsewhere; these are marked with an asterisk. Note: Justina Winfrey is running as a write-in candidate for the 28th Ward.
City Bureau hosts weekly events, free training workshops and gives paid assignments to people looking to get engaged civically in Chicago, especially on the South and West Sides. For more information, visit www.citybureau.org.
Want to meet us? Come to our Public Newsroom workshop on Feb. 7 at the Austin Family Community Center, 501 N. Central Ave., where reporters who produced this issue will present their findings and discuss how residents can ensure their local officials are held accountable. The event is 6 to 8 p.m., and refreshments will be provided.