Visit the project
“I want to help a growing set of people know how their news is produced.”
Jennifer Brandel, Producer, in AIR Media Works
An initiative of the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR)’s Localore project, Chicago-based Curious City inverts a top-down journalism model by putting the public in the place of the editor and letting them choose the news lead. Web visitors can submit questions to a team of journalists and vote on their favorites. The journalists then investigate the winning questions, posting a completed story to the Curious City website. The Curious City questions often revolve around the project’s home city of Chicago, focusing on the city’s cultural oddities and rich history. Former winning questions include: What is the origin of Chicago’s distinctive wooden fire escapes? What’s the average income of a Chicago street performer? Is it possible to discern how the Chicago accent came to be? The questions shed light on Chicago, as well as urban life in general.
The website has three sections: Up For Voting; Answered & Investigating; New and Unanswered. Each provides a window to a different part in the creative process. The result is transparent journalism. In the finished pieces, the journalists also reveal their creative process, as well as their correspondence with the original submitter.