January 17, 2021

Shaw Media working with Google GNI Innovation Challenge on Joliet Focus project

Shaw Media will be working with the Google GNI Innovation Challenge on a new initiative serving the Black community of Joliet, Illinois.

The Joliet Focus project, funded by the GNI Innovation Challenge, includes an app to allow Joliet’s Black community to share their stories, photos, videos and artwork with the Joliet Herald-News’ audience. This project will amplify underserved voices in the community and foster discussion and viewpoints. Meanwhile, a local art gallery will showcase photography from the community.

Shaw Media acquired the Joliet Herald-News in 2014. The Herald-News has served Will County for 181 years.

J. Tom Shaw, VP & Chief Product Officer of Shaw Media, said, “Our team is thrilled to engage with the Black community of Joliet in an entirely new way. This funding from the Google GNI Innovation Challenge helps give us the opportunity to connect in meaningful ways.”

Dennis Anderson, Shaw Media VP of News & Content Development, will lead the project’s community involvement aspect. He led a nationally renown community engagement program in Peoria, Illinois, for more than six years.

“It is vital for news organizations to give a voice to communities that don’t always see themselves reflected in local media,” Anderson said. “The app we will create will add a new aspect that similar projects might have missed. We’re excited to get started on this important work.”

Shaw Media was founded in 1851 and is the third-oldest, continuously owned and operated family newspaper in the nation.