Here it is verbatim. I will be addressing it as well as many other things as part of my forthcoming post about the CNC situation. Stay tuned.
February 20, 2012To our readers: As you might have heard or read by now, the Chicago News Cooperative is suspending its contributions to the Midwest pages of the New York Times and its website effective February 26 so we can reassess our operations and determine if there is a more sustainable path to the future. Effective next Sunday, the Times pages produced by the CNC will no longer appear in the Friday and Sunday editions of the newspaper and its website. Obviously I’ve taken this step with much pride and regret – pride in the excellent journalism produced by the CNC staff over the past two and one-half years and regret that I could not raise the resources we needed to continue our current level of operations. As the CNC’s editor and CEO, I take full responsibility for this situation. Unlike similar start-up efforts like the Texas Tribune in Austin, the Bay Citizen in San Francisco and ProPublica in New York, we never recruited the kind of seven figure donations from people of means concerned about the declining quality of news coverage around the country. As a result, CNC never raised the resources to make investments in the business side of our operation that would have generated the revenue we needed to achieve our original goal – a self-sustaining news operation within 5 years. CNC always has been an experiment in trying to figure out a way to finance accountability journalism, the kind of reporting that many news organizations are abandoning as they struggle with a deteriorating business model and financial problems. This is a very difficult problem especially in major cities and carries ominous implications for a democracy. An organization dedicated to public service journalism is an indispensible civic asset, and we remain committed to finding some possible answers. In the coming days and weeks, we will be examining our potential to see if we can identify an alternative path and preserve some of the journalistic assets we have developed. Continued support is welcome and would help us figure out the best path for CNC.