A letter from Ben Austen

Author of High Risers and South Side Weekly Board Member


I am a writer and a South Sider, born and raised, and if there were twenty of me I would probably be trying to do the work of the South Side Weekly. Luckily, the South Side Weekly exists!

I’ve been a fan of its local coverage for years, the way the paper focuses on events and people and places that are vital to our conceptions of ourselves, not only as South Siders. These are the stories that matter to Chicago—that capture how cities work and don’t work. These are also the stories that don’t get enough coverage. The South Side Weekly is not only on top of this beat; it’s training the next generation of reporters at a time when there are fewer and fewer outlets out there.

I joined the board of the South Side Weekly because I believe deeply in its mission–to support cultural and civic engagement on the South Side, and to provide educational opportunities for developing journalists, writers, and artists. I’ve chosen to invest my time and money in this amazing, bootstrap journalistic enterprise. I’m hoping many of you who feel the same way will also consider supporting it.

Thank you,

Ben Austen Signature

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Starting early next year, we’ll be rolling out a series of workshops that are free and open to the public. They will focus on teaching fundamental skills like how to edit, fact-check, craft a pitch, interview, scriptwrite for radio, structure a feature story, analyze public data, and more.

It’s our first project completely funded by you, our readers. Every dollar you donate supports local journalism in a tangible, measurable way and 100% of your donation goes towards supporting our contributors.


Donations to the paper are received by our 501(c)(3) tax-exempt fiscal sponsor, the Experimental Station. You will receive a receipt from the Experimental Station, and can declare the value of your contribution as an itemized deduction. Your donation will appear on your bank statement as “South Side Weekly”.

The Weekly is a volunteer-run nonprofit written for and about the South Side of Chicago. Our work is made possible through donations from our readers. If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation. Donate today.

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