About Austin

The Austin community, home to nearly 100,000 people, is rich in diversity, culture and life. AustinTalks – a project of Columbia College Chicago’s Communication Department – seeks to reflect this richness and provide the residents of Chicago’s most-populated neighborhood with news and information not available anywhere else.

Most of the stories, photos, video and audio you’ll find here on AustinTalks are produced by undergraduate and graduate journalism students at Columbia College Chicago, who launched the site in spring 2010 and continue to operate it today. Other contributors include Columbia alum, Austin residents and others who want to make the West Side all it can be.

Suzanne McBride, chair of Columbia College’s Communication Department and longtime journalist, coordinates AustinTalks. You can reach her at 312-369-8907 or at austintalks.org@gmail.com. As a resident of nearby Oak Park, some of her favorite Austin activities include eating at MacArthur’s, spending time at Columbus Park, swimming at Austin Town Hall, taking in the latest event at Sankofa Cultural Arts and Business Center and riding the 91 bus. Like many people who live, work or spend time in Austin, she wishes there were more places to shop. We’d love to know about some of your favorite places and people in Austin.

Help us make this a meeting place that showcases all Austin has to offer. Tell us what stories you want to see here, or submit your own story – a photo, some video or something you’ve written yourself. It takes just a minute to register for the site and get started. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.

This site is made possible thanks to ongoing support from Columbia College Chicago. Special thanks to The Chicago Community Trust for helping launch AustinTalks; Columbia College was one of 12 institutions selected in November 2009 to receive a Community News Matters grant out of a pool of 86 applicants. The Community News Matters program was spurred by a lead grant from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Community Information Challenge, and was jointly funded by The Chicago Community Trust and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. AustinTalks has also received support from the Motorola Mobility Foundation.

With the help and support of the Austin community, our site came to life in April 2010. Since then, AustinTalks has formed a partnership with the Austin Weekly News, which regularly publishes our stories in its print edition each week and on its web site.

“We’re honored to have been given the opportunity to partner with residents, business owners, civic leaders, educators and people of faith in Austin,” said McBride, co-founder and co-publisher of the local news web site ChicagoTalks. “Help us make it the site you need and want.”

Contact us at austintalks.org@gmail.com.