Three months of Web news shows SubstanceNews staff can deliver

Three months ago, Substance began an experiment in news reporting on Chicago's public schools. After some discussion within our staff, we decided that we could begin to prepare regular (possibly daily) news updates about Chicago's public schools as well as continue our print edition on a monthly basis. In January 2009, after witnessing the huge turnout of teachers, parents, and public school activists for the CORE hearings on public education in Chicago, we were more heartened. In February and March, we conducted a survey among our regular print subscribers. More than 20 percent of those returned the survey, and the overwhelming majority told us that they would continue to subscribe to the print edition, and hoped that we could bring off a Web news service too.

We are now in the middle of doing that. The expansion of the number of reporters writing regularly for Substance has enabled us to bring more news from more parts of Chicago than every before. After April 2009, we will discuss the same extensions with the staff of Substance who live outside of Chicago.

Our print edition, which has been delayed as we made this transition, will remain the root of Substance (and the major source of Substance revenues). We will be thanking every one of our print readers personally over the next few months, not only for their support but for their patience.

And we can now welcome our new readers here on the Web as the number of "unique visitors" to this Website surpasses anyone else in Chicago (as we did in March) and grows even more strongly in the months ahead.

Thanks to our reporters and especially to our Web master, Dan Schmidt, we can promise that we will be giving our traditional readers in print and our fast-growing number of Web readers the most accurate updated news about Chicago's public schools anywhere.

If you want to help more and are reading Substance on line for the first time, please add a print subscription to your commitment to public schools.

We also hope that you will add your commentary both in the "Comments" section here and by sending a letter to the editor at our print edition: Csubstance @ aol.,com.

Finally, revenues can increase with the help of everyone visiting here.

Subscribing is simply (see the button to the right). You can also make a donation by using the same easy method.

One last thing.

When we decided on a major expansion of this Website one year ago, we knew that we would also have to provide our readers and e-commerce customers with the most secure Website possible. We have spent more than six months making that promise a reality. Not only will Substance be providing you with accurate updates from Chicago regularly, but your commercial dealings with us, as you can see, will be the most secure possible. We only take e-business via Visa and MasterCard, and we have secured those processes as well as anyone in the business. Nobody on the Web is perfect, but we will continue to do the best possible job, here and in print, in the years ahead.


April 4, 2009 at 1:40 AM

By: Jim Vail

Teacher/ Proud reporter for Substance

George - The website keeps looking more wonderful each day. I'm sure anyone serious about education in Chicago who wants to know what is really going on is following the Substance news site closely. Your son is doing a fantastic job! And now it looks even more superb - an updated story or two (not cluttered) and the rest can be accessed on the left-hand side by a hyperlink. Now we need to convince those who truly care about what we're reporting on to support the most valuable educational news service on Chicago. I know I'll do my part!

April 16, 2009 at 1:14 PM

By: Amazed

You're kidding, right?

Your web presence is a joke.

"And we can now welcome our new readers here on the Web as the number of "unique visitors" to this Website surpasses anyone else in Chicago (as we did in March) and grows even more strongly in the months ahead." You surpass the Trib, Suntimes, Catalyst, 299??? What drugs are you taking?

You have no clue about interactive media and no experience maintaining any kind of current website much less anything else. Walking and chewing gum at the same time comes to mind. Don't trip over your shoelaces!!!

April 17, 2009 at 4:51 AM

By: George N. Schmidt

Truth hurts

Sorry about that, as we used to say. Chicago was once a five newspaper town. The dailies when Substance started were: Chicago's American; Chicago Daily News; Chicago Sun-Times; Chicago Defender; Chicago Tribune.

Now the Tribune is a joke. But the joke is on all of us and on history for the newspaper that produced Abraham Lincoln and did more than anyone in the Midwest to end slavery.

The Sun-Times a bigger joke.

Colonel McCormick (who at least knew a newspaper from an advertising supplement) walks the shores of "Streeterville" looking for Sam Zell. Zell is now spending his nights hovering behind a wall of Zombie Repellant.

Samuel Emery Thomason (who helped the New Deal via the Chicago Times) wonders why his old paper doesn't just join Rupert Murdoch's Sun (Great Britain) with a Page Three girl of the day to gain circulation. And now and then jokes with his old law partner, the Colonel of Chicago, about what it's all come to.

And the "news" in both "dailies" now comes into the "news" columns via the Editorial Board Meeting, where publicists with Power Point set the agenda for the remaining reporter covering education...

Watch your back, "Amazed." If The Colonel don't get you, SET will. And if they don't, A. A. Dornfeld or one of the ghosts of the City News Bureau ("If your mother says she loves you, check it out!") will nibble off a toe or two at midnight just to remind you to check your facts and sign your own by-lines.

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