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Become a member

CIMA is a small, relatively new collaboration. Its primary goal is to assist our members with collaborative projects, especially focused on revenue-generating efforts. As a result, these guidelines are intended to help keep the focus on the mission, and to involve members who can fully benefit from this work. Contact us at for more details.

Member Criteria

Independent media entities: Any media that is free of influence from elected officials, lobbyists, special interest groups, partisan political parties or groups, or public relations organizations.

Business type: Members are independently owned and operated and/or have nonprofit status. CIMA does not partner with corporate-owned entities, including those part of national or international corporations. CIMA may make exceptions for locally operated media entities. 

Content: Individual collaborators produce original content, and are responsible for their own content. Such independent work may not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of CIMA collaboration

Opinion: Collaborators that produce opinion journalism are permissible as long as that is not their sole purpose, and opinion content is clearly designated as such.

Geography: CIMA members must be located in—and have primarily original reporting that focuses on—Chicago or the surrounding suburban area.

Outlet type: Single-topic newsletters, blogs, or podcasts, as well as Chicago-based outlets that are not focused on Chicago news or culture, generally would not benefit from the work of CIMA, so would not qualify for membership.


Member Agreements

In order to be considered an active member of CIMA, members are required to agree to the following:

  1. Attend at least 1 member meeting each year. 
  2. Participate in all member surveys.
  3. Have consistent and timely communication with CIMA coordinators.
  4. Assign a designated team member that works directly with CIMA and reports back to your outlet’s team. The designated team member is responsible for alerting CIMA of any contact changes or additions.
  5. Communicate with CIMA of their participation in projects. Members are required to proactively inform CIMA if they “opt-in” or “opt-out” of all CIMA programming, such as the annual fundraiser, group buys, statements, etc.

If a member does not meet these criteria, we will reach out to re-engage. If the member does not respond to re-engagement efforts, the member outlet will be considered inactive. We will remove the outlet from our communication lists and our member’s list. Any member outlet can rejoin at any given time, as long as they still meet the membership criteria.

There are no dues to be a member of the Chicago Independent Media Alliance.

Interested in joining us?
Contact us at today for more details

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