30 April 2018
Contact: Ted Cox (773) 517-8709


Statewide media outlet from Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar counters divisive political narrative

One Illinois, a new statewide news outlet, launches today.

Founded by Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar, a former candidate for governor, One Illinois is dedicated to telling stories of interest to people across the state. In that, it will directly confront the divisive political rhetoric put out by what Pawar calls “disingenuous” news organizations that run the state down and pit Illinoisans against one another.

“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 between left and right,” Pawar says. “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.”

One Illinois will be an answer to the anger and vitriol on the right, but not a mirror image. One doesn’t fight fire with fire but with water, and the rational response to divisiveness is to seek unity and find a common purpose, especially as Illinois celebrates its bicentennial.

“At One Illinois, we reject the narrative that would divide us along party lines and by political affiliation,” says Editor Ted Cox. “We reject the notion that Illinois is a state in decline without the resources to solve its own problems. And we reject, above all else, those who would divide us for political gain.”

Their divide-and-conquer political strategy pits upstate against downstate, farm against city, and Chicago against all. One Illinois answers their divisiveness with stories about

Illinoisans from Galena to Cairo and from East St. Louis to Zion, all seeking solutions on issues like jobs, education, poverty, child care, income inequality, infrastructure, and the environment.

“These aren’t partisan issues,” Pawar says. “They’re human problems with common- sense solutions if we only address them head on.”

The first stories from One Illinois include an interview with Mayor Chris Lain of the Mississippi River town of Savanna. A gay liberal from Chicago’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, Lain moved to Savanna with his partner five years ago and was elected in a landslide only months after the town had gone to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Others concern a Togolese missionary serving as parochial vicar at a Catholic church in Moline, the revival of bald eagles and the return of bison with the herd established at the Nachusa Grasslands, as well as Rock Island Alderman Dylan Parker, a Democratic Socialist who bucked the prevailing trend of people moving out of Illinois by moving from Iowa and seizing a role in revitalizing his neighborhood of Broadway.

The website is live beginning today. According to Cox, a veteran of the

online news agency DNAinfo Chicago, it will attract readers, viewers, and listeners through a robust distribution network and an aggressive presence on social media, with all encouraged to share the stories they find engaging. One Illinois grew out of conversations Pawar and Cox had after DNAinfo’s demise late last year, with both agreeing that journalism has a role not just in delivering the truth, but in connecting people and fostering social change.

“At DNAinfo, we rapidly built a substantial readership on the internet by telling news stories that focused on people and their concerns,” Cox says. “Chicagoans developed more pride in their home neighborhoods, but also recognized common interests with other areas across the city, areas they might otherwise have ignored. That wasn’t the goal that launched DNAinfo, but it was an undeniable end result, and there’s no reason that same approach can’t be extended statewide to bring Illinoisans together.”