Who Are You, Readers? And Do You Trust Us?

Helga Salinas is ProPublica Illinois’ new engagement reporting fellow. (Courtesy of Maura Salinas)

I often think about these questions: Who are you, readers? And do you trust us? Does our work add value to your lives? Do we help you understand your city and your state better? Are the stories we report presented in ways that show how they affect your day-to-day lives? Are we including your community’s experiences and voices in our reporting?

This week, I joined ProPublica Illinois as our first engagement and social media reporting fellow. Before, I worked at The Seattle Times as the paper’s only social media producer. After two years there, I was burned out and went back home to Los Angeles to take a break. (BTW, which news are you burnt out from or wish was shared differently?) I didn’t become a journalist to become a “social media person,” but after journalism school, I realized that news organizations were struggling to define their audiences and connect with and represent them.

As I help with social media for ProPublica Illinois, I would like some help. First, I’m new to Illinois. If you’re up to it, let me know which people, organizations, communities or blogs we should be following on Facebook and Twitter. How do you keep in touch about the things that are important to you?

I’m excited to work at a news organization that is pursuing thoughtful and important storytelling of this moment and possesses a strong desire to reach communities (including marginalized communities) and an eagerness to work with other news organizations. Those values aren’t pursued as aggressively at every news organization. That, as ProPublica Illinois’ news applications developer David Eads pointed out earlier this week, is a reflection of an industry getting smaller. There are fewer and fewer reporters out there getting to know your communities, though, as you may already know, places like City Bureau and Block Club Chicago are trying to fill some of those gaps here in Chicago.

So, back to my original question: Who are you? Feel free to email me and introduce yourself. Reach me at

As a member of the Latinx community in Los Angeles, I sometimes felt the news was about us, not for us. I don’t want to do the same here. ProPublica Illinois wants to involve you in our reporting.

Challenge us. It matters that you do.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Helga Salinas Social and Engagement Reporting Fellow, ProPublica Illinois

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