In July 2012, I became editor of Reboot Illinois, a startup that began as a website/social media operation founded in response to a political climate and struggling state economy that had left many Illinois voters cynical about their state politics and government.
In a nutshell, Illinois was about to send its second consecutive governor to prison on corruption charges and the state was struggling mightily to join the rest of the nation in recovering from the Great Recession. In addition, the state budget was being consumed in ever greater chunks by pension debt that had accumulated over decades of underfunding and bad decisions.
Reboot Illinois was founded with the mission of encouraging citizens to get active to improve their state government. Originally, our platform had four pillars: reducing corruption, improving education, righting the state's fiscal ship and improving its business climate.
As Reboot evolved, however, we became more of a general-purpose non-partisan news site focusing on many aspects of state government. Through our own reporting and opinion writing, guest submissions, infographics and videos, we cover just about everything in Illinois government.
In June 2016, we became the Illinois affiliate for PolitiFact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website and published Illinois-related fact-checks on the PolitiFact Illinois site. I was especially proud of this partnership because PolitiFact would not have partnered with us had its editors not believed our journalism was up to their demanding standards. This partnership continued in 2017 when the Better Government Association took over the PolitiFact affiliation and brought me on to continue PolitiFact Illinois under the BGA's editorial guidance. (More on that is here.)
What follows is a sampling of my work at Reboot Illinois.