West Chicago Voice - About Us : The voice of West Chicago, Illinois - digital local news - for locals by locals .

From The Editor’s Desk: Why Are We Doing What We’re Doing?

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The West Chicago Voice is a digital newspaper exclusively for the community we call home, West Chicago. Our goal and mission is to provide a balanced, reliable, and trusted source for local news. We wish to give the residents of our community a convenient, one-stop destination for all the news that matters most to them.

Local journalism is important. It’s a much-needed thing in a democratic society. It helps bring to account local elected officials, provides much needed information, and keeps everyone up to date and connects the community. For 18 years, this city has had no dedicated newspaper. The West Chicago Press shuttered in 2005 leaving WeGo with no local news source.

“One of the biggest challenges we all face, in an era where everyone has a platform is figuring out who to listen to. Open platforms that once seemed radically democratizing now threaten, with the tsunami of false information we all face daily to undermine democracy. When everyone has a megaphone, no one can be heard” -Andrew Conte , Death of the Daily News

Social media is a way for people and organizations to communicate directly with their fans and followers. However, due to algorithms and the way social media works, they want you to pay to boost posts to reach targeted participants. This means not everyone is seeing your posts. A local newspaper can be an added tool in your publicity toolbox.

Social Media can be a valuable tool for newspapers and media organizations to source news stories. In this day and age, we go out and find what people are posting on social media investigate their stories, news, and events, and share what we can with permission from the original poster and publish it (but only if it applies to this community or the very near surrounding areas, county or a state-wide topic). Many large and national news organizations do this as a way to garner interesting or viral content for their viewers or readers . There’s no shame in that game because it’s necessary to educate residents about issues, situations, developments, and and other ideas in the community no matter how the news is sourced. So if it’s not sent to us, we need to go out and get it. However,  We would like to appeal to local entities and businesses to share their news and announcements directly to us increase your visibility. Our goal is to be a reliable, vetted source of trusted information and we can only do that with the community’s participation.

Press Releases, news, story ideas, and announcements can be emailed to us directly: WestChicagoVoice@Gmail.com

West Chicago has been what is called a “news desert” and we want to be an oasis in that desert.  Read more about that HERE. We invite you to learn more about why we feel local journalism is not just wanted, or enjoyed but NECESSARY and CRITICAL to our community and the business ecosystem as well. We want to partner with our fellow community members, and help you to grow too! (*Read more about that further down)

We are a 100% volunteer, family-owned, independent organization. We’re just regular people who saw a need and are filling it.

Who We Are:

We’re a married couple (30 years last May! Woohoo! Go us! LOL!) with three adult children. Our oldest is at home with us and she helps with writing the deals and couponing columns-our two others are currently college students. One will graduate in December with a sports marketing major and a double minor in marketing and psychology. The other is studying film and video editing.

We’ve been involved with the community through the (now defunct) youth football program as the former president of the program, the Park District baseball and T-ball teams.  My husband was a youth pastor and I was a children’s ministry director at Resurrection Episcopal Church (now gone) on Rt. 59 and Gary’s Mill Rd. Hubs and our youngest son coach football at the high school (Go Cats!). Between the years of 1991 and 1999, I worked for the West Chicago Press (Press-Republican Newspapers) therefore, the paper is mainly written by myself (the wifey) and edited by hubs and kids. I estimate I work close to 60 hours a week on this newspaper. It’s A LOT of work, but I accept that challenge and view it as a mission to be dedicated and committed to this cause.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Voelz taken at WCCHS High School’s Homecoming.(Please ignore our older son’s goofy smile, lol- he was being a silly guy!) 

We’re not high-tech geniuses

We’ve been bloggers and are familiar with WordPress development so we created this website as a digital newspaper.

Why digital? To be completely transparent, it lowers our overhead and it also lessens our footprint on the environment to be 100% online. Someday, we may produce a special printed magazine (also called a “pull-out” section) seasonally as a round-up of events and happenings.

We’re not gathering any personal data on anyone. If you place an ad we want you to know this IMPORTANT fact: Payment data is NOT shared with us, it’s processed through a third-party processor and we never even see any of your information, we just get a notice that the invoice or advertisement has been paid.  That’s common practice and standard procedure for any website or e-commerce business. We are proud of the fact that we have high-level security and monitoring on our website. We run many protocols that protect our website from any type of hacker or digital attack.

Our publication is 100% FREE to readers.

There are no subscriptions to read the news, or annoying paywalls that pop up. We don’t like that and think it’s unfair to hide the news from the community. We have a mailing list that is also FREE. We’ve set up daily emails to go out to subscribers that have a round-up of stories (headlines and excerpts) of the most recent stories in the paper. It goes out around dinner time or late afternoon, depending on when our deadlines are. Note: We don’t retain or share data or share email addresses with anyone, pinky promise!

If you’d like to sign up to get the daily emails, Subscribe HERE.

Here are our terms of use and what we say about data retention and cookies…for anyone who may be concerned about this: https://westchicagovoice.com/terms-of-use

But How Do You Support This Paper?

It’s our hope to garner income, like most newspapers by advertising. We know that producing reliable and consistent content attracts readers which in turn attracts advertisers. We can help local businesses to amplify their message, reach their local market, and build their brand through the vehicle of our paper. We do not run any pay-per-click advertising or Google ads on this website. Instead, we save our space for those mom-and-pop, local businesses. We have no interest in helping a large, nationally-owned corporation expand unless they have a local connection. What we want more than anything is to grow into a relationship with our local business community and help them grow and reach new customers. Advertising on this website starts at just $7 a week for businesses. Email us for more info: WestChicagoVoice@Gmail.com  I (wife) have many years of experience in digital marketing and advertising. I know what to do and how to do it to help our WeGo business community. We want to walk down Main Street and see thriving businesses and filled storefronts. It makes us sad to see so many vacancies in our business district. We strive for revitalization and new growth, which we feel, aligns with most of what the community wants as well.

If you’re interested in occasionally sending us some information, photos or helping us cover a meeting or event that you’ll already be at anyway, PLEASE let us know. We need all the community help we can get! It’s all on a volunteer basis but we’ll give you credit and a byline and be forever grateful you helped (we might even surprise you with some homemade cookies or bread too! How’s that for luring you in and bribing you? haha!!)

Click the Picture To See our Apple Fritter Bread Recipe HERE

So here, we lay everything out on the table before you so you understand our hearts, desires, and goals with this newspaper. We love this community, we’ve called it home for most of our lives. We are in for the long haul. We’re invested and we have deep roots here. We want to contribute something positive and do good by providing local journalism to the community.

We leave you with this final thought from Andrew Conte’s “Death of The Daily News”

“Journalism plays an irreplaceable role in both democratic politics and market economies”

Share and Comment

We appreciate you reading this, and hope that you will share and comment on this story so we know we’ve reached you! Please also consider following us on social media, especially our Facebook page (we often report on high school sporting events live as they happen)

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